Wednesday, November 28, 2012

THE APPOINTMENT (1969) - Sidney Lumet

Take the same premise as Belle de Jour, invert the perspective, add a great (but very American) director in place of Buñuel, then switch the blonde Deneuve with a brunette Anouk Aimée. What do you end up with? A very dull Appointment.

Omar Sharif plays an Italian man who suspects his new bride (Aimée) may be a moonlighting as a high-priced prostitute. Since he's a repressed Italian male consumed with occasional bouts of crippling jealousy, he does everything in his power to discover the nature and whereabouts of his wife's possible second life except...well, ask her about it.

This movie is an odd choice for Lumet, known mostly for his no-bullshit New York movies (12 Angry Men, The Pawnbroker, Dog Day Afternoon etc.). I'm guessing he wanted an all-expenses paid Italian vacation on MGM's dime. Or maybe he just wanted to try his hand at one of  the longest, most unnecessary helicopter shots of all time (pulling out from the couple kissing in an open field...for about four minutes). Whatever the reasons, it's not one of Sidney's best. He's not on his home turf here, thematically or geographically.

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