Thursday, April 24, 2008

Performance (Nicholas Roeg, Donald Cammell, 1970)


As a gangster on the lam about to embark on an identity crisis, James Fox tells Mick Jagger: "You'll look funny when you're fifty." Jagger already looks very funny and, nearly forty years on, so does this incense-drenched psych-out.

It's a kind of companion to Blow Up - its phantasmagoric obverse: a swinging dive into late 60s hedonism and half-suppressed ennui, built on a style of excess, baroque decay and sensory assault. It's strained and oppressive, but it comes alive in spurts, particularly in the closing third. And the soundtrack's terrific.

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