Insignificance

Insignificance

DVD - 2011 | Director approved DVD special edition.
Average Rating:
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Four unnamed people who look and sound a lot like Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, and Joseph McCarthy converge in one New York City hotel room for a compelling, visually inventive adaptation of Terry Johnson's play. With a combination of whimsy and dread, director Nicolas Roeg creates a fun-house-mirror picture of cold war America that questions the nature of celebrity and plays on a society's simmering nuclear fears.
Publisher: [United States] : Criterion Collection, 2011.
Edition: Director approved DVD special edition.
ISBN: 9781604654318
Branch Call Number: DVD INS
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (108 min.) :,sound, color ;,4 3/4 in. +,1 booklet.
Additional Contributors: Busey, Gary
Roeg, Nicolas 1928-

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TheSandoz
Aug 30, 2017

All of Nicolas Roeg's films are well-framed, interestingly edited and not entirely possible to completely understand in one viewing, but they do reward multiple viewings as you catch a few more things and certain themes become clearer after you've taken them in a couple of times. This one is no exception.
An imaginary meeting of the minds between four people who suggest but are not directly named as Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Joe Dimaggio and Joseph McCarthy in a New York City hotel room, the film is not without its flaws (Theresa Russell is a very attractive woman but she doesn't really look that much like Marilyn Monroe) but there a lot of ideas about science (Russell's re-enactment of the theory of relativity using toys and everyday items is enjoyable), politics (again, Tony Curtis looks nothing like Joseph McCarthy but he does inhabit the weird combination of sociopathology -- and a need to be liked that still comes off as slimy -- that does make for a convincing portrait of what McCarthy might have been like in person) and there are some a few funny moments, such as DiMaggio's answer as to what shape the universe is.
Admittedly, you do have to be a bit of a weirdo to like this movie but hey, if the shoe fits watch it.

n
Nursebob
Dec 17, 2014

It's 1954, and in New York City the lives of four famous people will crisscross back and forth over the course of one warm spring night. In a swank hotel room high atop Manhattan a vivacious blond movie star will seduce a brilliant physicist, but not before explaining the Theory of Relativity to him using a couple of toy trains and a flashlight. Meanwhile her big dumb husband, a faded baseball star, can't get her out of his mind. Then there's the ultra-conservative senator who transforms his own personal demons into a witch hunt for commies... Rather than portray them as simple flesh-and-blood people, director Nicolas Roeg takes the likenesses of Monroe, Einstein, DiMaggio, and McCarthy (their names are never mentioned but the intent is unmistakable) and instead utilizes them as the post-WWII American icons they've clearly become. Gathering them into the same parlour he waxes philosophical on the nature of knowledge and truth, love, identity, power and the whole ball of wax. The result is a strange brew of deep thoughts and odd tangents that works for the most part thanks to some imaginative directing and a handful of knockout performances. The film's explosive climax is among my all-time favourite movie endings!

p
pl8
Aug 09, 2014

Other than one delightfully charming scene in which Marilyn Monroe explains the theory of relativity to Albert Einstein, this is basically kitsch for kitsch sake. Its an interesting premise but it doesn't really know where to go after setting it up. Still, the acting is very good and its not entirely awful.

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