Article 4560 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Nicolas Roeg
Featuring Gene Hackman, Theresa Russell, Rutger Hauer
Country: UK / USA
What it is: Stylistic drama
During the twenties, a prospector becomes the richest man alive after discovering a mountain of gold. Twenty years later, he finds his life beset by problems with family relationships and threatened by a mob that wants an island he possesses.
If there’s one thing I can count on in a Nicolas Roeg film, it’s that it will have its share of stylistic flourishes, and the movie at its most interesting when it’s at its most stylistic; the opening twenty minutes and a brutal murder two-thirds of the way through will be the scenes that linger the longest. As for the rest, it’s a bit of a hodgepodge; it’s a drama/love story/gangster thriller that owes (somewhat self-consciously) something to CITIZEN KANE, and there are references to “Alice in Wonderland” as well as to the Utopian novel “Erewhon”. It’s interesting but not quite satisfying. Dramatically, I’m not sure how I feel about it, nor am I particularly satisfied with it at the ending. It is very well acted, however, and it has quite a few familiar actors in it, such as Mickey Rourke and Joe Pesci. The fantastic aspects are a bit harder to pin down; some of the stylistic touches give it a sense of fantasy, and there are occult references and a voodoo ceremony thrown in the mix, but it’s hard to say if these touches ever push it into the realm of the fantastical.