Sunday, November 13, 2011

TURKISH DELIGHT (1973) -
Paul Verhoeven


Like the gummy confection from which it derives its name, Turkish Delight is an acquired taste. Whether you're able to enjoy it, see past all the bared flesh to the doomed love story at its gooey center will depend largely on your tolerance level for the casual blending of three signature ingredients: aggressive sexuality, gleeful scatology, unapologetic romance.

Yes, I said "romance." True romance. In a Paul Verhoeven movie. Of his own special variety, of course.

Example: How do you feel about a man snipping off a thatch of his lover's pubic hair with a pair of scissors, placing it on his upper lip like a mustache? How do you feel about him reaching into a toilet bowl to inspect his lover's bloody bowel movements to determine if she is ill? Or a wedding where a pregnant woman's water breaks in the middle of the ceremony and a small dog runs over to lap it up? Do you find your heart aflutter or your stomach a little upset?

Verhoeven was probably aiming for both, and his messy, double barreled shotgun blast approach to youthful passion mostly worked for me. It's an "in your face" romance movie. Betty Blue times two or a Dutch Like Water for Chocolate with ZERO table manners. I can see the argument from both sides: someone calling it a romance masterpiece, someone else calling it "Love Story as directed by Larry Flynt." They would both be right.

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