×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Suspension of Disbelief

For suspension of disbelief to work, the audience has to care enough to surrender brain space to a character or plotline. Unfortunately, Mike Figgis' "Suspension of Disbelief" forgets this key component.

With:
With: Sebastian Koch, Lotte Verbeek, Emilia Fox, Rebecca Night, Frances de la Tour, Julian Sands, Kenneth Cranham, Eoin Macken, Lachlan Nieboer.

For suspension of disbelief to work, the audience has to care enough to surrender brain space to a character or plotline. Unfortunately, Mike Figgis’ “Suspension of Disbelief” forgets this key component, offering instead a lazily constructed meta-pic about a screenwriter’s fixation on a dead woman’s twin. Mistaking digital doodling for creativity, and film-within-a-film claptrap for depth, the helmer seems trapped by his obsessions in an artistic crisis of ever-increasing proportions. Though “Suspension” is slightly better than “Love Live Long,” it’s just as unlikely to get a Stateside release.

London scripter Martin (Sebastian Koch, “The Lives of Others”) teaches his art to very green students, though it’s been some time since one of his own projects saw the light of day. At the 25th birthday party for his actress daughter, Sarah (Rebecca Night), starring in a new movie written by her dad, he’s seduced by the bewitching Angelique (Lotte Verbeek, “Nothing Personal”). One day later, she’s dead in the Thames, and Inspector Bullock (Kenneth Cranham), a mystery-writer wannabe, knocks on the door asking questions.

Angelique’s twin sis, Therese (also Verbeek), shows up, announced by music as subtle as the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth. Martin falls for this mysterious woman, whose presence inspires his writing, and renews recollections of the humiliating treatment by his missing wife, Fiona (Emilia Fox), who disappeared 15 years earlier. Figgis means to explore the boundaries of reality and cinema by having characters chance upon Martin’s scripts, with passages spelling out exactly what they themselves are doing at that moment, but the device just doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, “Suspension” isn’t shy about over-signaling important moments via freeze-frames, slo-mo, split-screen and the like to make certain viewers understand the import of an event. Does anyone really need the dictionary definition of “twin” written out onscreen when Therese arrives?

Perfs verge on embarrassing, and Figgis shoots them all like models in a Dolce & Gabbana ad: Everyone’s hip and beautiful, yet there’s nothing distinctive or memorable about them. Therese says, “My heart’s broken,” but where there’s no blood, there’s no heart. Production design is suitable only for a fashion shoot, and music, generously sampling from Eric Satie as well as jazz, is in-your-face.

Suspension of Disbelief

U.K.

Production: A Content Media Corp. presentation of a Red Mullet, Sosho production. (International sales: Content Media, Los Angeles.) Produced by Vito Di Rosa, Mike Figgis. Executive producers, Carola Ash, Nimmi Saraf. Directed, written, edited by Mike Figgis.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W, HD), Figgis; music, Figgis, Arlen Figgis; production designer, Vito Di Rosa; costume designers, Sandy Powell, Oliver Garcia; sound, Pawel Wdowczak; line producer, Di Rosa; assistant director, Jeremy Kincaid-Smith; casting, Sasha Robertson. Reviewed at Rome Film Festival (Cinemaxxi), Nov. 12, 2012. Running time: 111 MIN.

With: With: Sebastian Koch, Lotte Verbeek, Emilia Fox, Rebecca Night, Frances de la Tour, Julian Sands, Kenneth Cranham, Eoin Macken, Lachlan Nieboer.

More Film

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow

    'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow Easter Weekend at the Box Office

    New Line’s horror pic “The Curse of La Llorona” will summon a solid $25 million debut at the domestic box office, leading a quiet Easter weekend before Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters on April 26. The James Wan-produced “La Llorona,” playing in 3,372 theaters, was a hit with hispanic audiences, who accounted for nearly 50% [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content