Death, grief and rebirth

A reappraisal of two psychological thrillers starring Nicole Kidman: Dead Calm and Birth

Two films I have recently revisited strike me as being two parts of a piece, and not only because they both feature Nicole Kidman – the first being her final performance in an Australian-made film, Philip Noyce’s Dead Calm (1989), and the latter being Jonathan Glazer’s Birth (2004). Moreover, each film deals with the grieving process, with the lost loved one resurfacing in an Oedipal scheme as a vengeful son committed to possessing the mother and destroying the father. Continue reading

The accidental tourist

Jack Nicholson in The Passenger

Some thoughts on Antionio’s 1975 arthouse thriller The Passenger, starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider

My late conversion to Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up has had me checking out some of his other English-language films, including this slow-burning 1975 piece starring Jack Nicholson as a disaffected political reporter who has ostensibly reached the end of his personal road on a job in Saharan Africa. Returning to his hotel after a bitterly unsucessful day out in the desert, he siezes the chance to swap identities with a man named Robertson that he resembles and met only briefly the evening before, and whom he finds dead in his room unnoticed by the hotel staff. Continue reading