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Bad Timing

(aka Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession)
Great Britain 1980. Dir: Nicolas Roeg. 123 min. DCP

Theresa Russell, Art Garfunkel, and Harvey Keitel head the cast of Nicolas Roeg’s kinetic, erotic psychological thriller, which uses a jigsaw-puzzle narrative to relate a steamy tale of sexual obsession and violence. Garfunkel is Alex, a young psychoanalyst lecturing at the University of Vienna. Russell is Milena, the married American woman with whom Alex is having a torrid affair. Keitel is Netusil, a police inspector investigating the circumstances that have landed Milena in hospital. Alex’s libidinous and perhaps unreliable memories vie with the detective’s fantasized version of events as Roeg’s narratively-discontinuous film spins its complex tale. The result — praised as “the ultimate detective film,” denounced as tasteless and misogynist, and originally X-rated — is a fascinating meditation on the relationship between psychoanalysis, detection, and voyeurism — and a darkly disillusioned view of human nature and human understanding. “As bonkers as it is beautiful” (Geoff Dyer).


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REVIEWS

★★★★★ "One of Nicolas Roeg's most challenging exercises in time-bending."

Empire | full review