|THE REFLECTING SKIN (director/writer: Philip Ridley; cinematographer: Dick Pope; editor: Scott Thomas; music: Nick Bicat; cast: Viggo Mortensen (Cameron Dove), Lindsay Duncan (Dolphin Blue), Jeremy Cooper (Seth Dove), Sheila Moore (Ruth Dove), Duncan Fraser (Luke Dove), David Longworth (Joshua), Robert Koons (Sheriff Ticker.), Evan Hall (Kim), Codie Lucas Wilbee (Eben); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Dominic Anciano/Ray Burdis; Miramax; 1990-UK)|
|"The director shows off his
technical skills and a sick humor."
by Dennis Schwartz
directorial debut of British
screenwriter Philip Ridley ("Heartless"/"The
Passion of Darkly Noon") has all the characters as
perverse and the pessimistic situations straining for
any normalcy. The director shows off his technical
skills and a sick humor. The children's book writer
previously wrote the script for The Krays. The film
was shot in Canada. This vampire movie has designs for
something bigger. Critics often compared this film to
David Lynch's Blue Velvet, as both filmmakers are
viewed as making weird films.
set in the 1950s and centers around a confused eight-year-old
child, Seth Dove (Jeremy Cooper), living in an
Idaho farming community. The kid has fantasies on a
reclusive British widow, Dolphin Blue
(Lindsay Duncan), whose rube hubby hung himself
after a week of marriage. Dolphin is having a
relationship with Seth's military hero- brother Cameron
Dove (Viggo Mortensen), who is
currently serving at an atomic-testing mission
site in the Pacific. Cameron is on leave for his
father's funeral. The kid has an urgent need to play sadistic
practical jokes on Dolphin, believing she's a
vampire who is after his brother's blood. He never
stops persecuting her until she dies. The kid got the
vampire angle from glancing at the pulp fiction books
his dad leaves around the house.
kid's unbalanced mom Ruth Dove (Sheila Moore)
obsesses over odors, while his service station
attendant dad, Luke Dove (Duncan Fraser),
has a history as a pedophile. Dad commits suicide when
suspect in the sodomy and drowning of Seth's friend
Eben (Codie Lucas Wilbee).
might be pretentious drama to some (the Freudian
symbolism was a bore) and some of the minor characters
are too absurdly drawn to have relevance, but I found
the 'life as a nightmare' drama compellingly twisted
and sharply observed.
REVIEWED ON 2/4/2016 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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