Friday, July 06, 2007

Performance (1970)

Echoes of Persona ripple throughout this bizarre allegory about the relationship between identity and celebrity, but Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg depart from Bergman's ruminatory angst, opting instead for a splintered mania that reflects the fracturing of the psyches of both violent gangster Chas (James Fox) and elusive rock star Turner (Mick Jagger). This reflection between theme and content is similarly reflected in the film's obsession with reflected images -- the opening credits alone involve a car polished so shiny that people are seen in its gleam and a blowjob given in front of a mirror. It's a film of upheaval, of transformation and abandonment, with two characters defined by their vocations attempting to wall themselves off and leave society behind. (I saw this in the same week I saw The Passenger; musta been something in the air that week...) Whiplash editing and nimbly hallucinatory direction serve to provide an external expression of the disorientation gone through by both Chas and Turner as they are gradually destabilized in regards to themselves, and the plot fades in and out as it leads to a climax that is a literal mind-blower. (Chas says early on before shooting someone, "I am a bullet," which is a more crucial line than it first appears, given the nature of the ending.) Also: Jagger is really quite good here, and his "Memo from Turner" scene is a highlight.

Grade: B+


Anonymous John M (Parca Mortem) said...

One of my fave experiences in bizarre cinema...

12:12 AM  

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