On one of our first-ever dates with the Grand Empress, we were smitten by the depth of her hostility toward The Loss of Sexual Innocence, arguably the most annoying, self-consciously bizarre film ever committed to celluloid—and thus prime fodder for the return of our semi-beloved Bad Movie Friday feature.
Now, don’t get us wrong—we sorta love the fact that director Mike Figgis chose to go the head-scratching route after the commercial success of Leaving Las Vegas. If he’d so desired, he could’ve made a fortune directing mainstream schlock until he was ready for the grave. Instead, Figgis decided he wanted to be an avant-garde master, and he’s paid the price—just check out what he’s been working on these past few years.
That said, The Loss of Sexual Innocence is not recommended for anyone with an aversion to pretension. We were going to quote from one of the innumerable pans that accompanied the film’s 1999 release, but none of the pros could beat this Netflix user’s lethal review:
I expect you will love or hate this movie. Imagine this sequence: A lady is slicing carrots. Her husband comes up behind her, fondles her breasts, and has sex with her from behind, all the while she keeps slicing the carrots. Then she dreams she is doing some strange quasi-strip-tease in front of a string quartet with her husband watching. He dreams a mime is shouting at him in a train station. He shoves the mime down; the mime comes back and stabs him. If that sequence sounds like an intriguing deep psychological drama, you will love this. If you are like me, you will think this was all some pseudo-intellectual pyscho-babble trying to make some social statement about the exploitation of third world countries compared to Adam and Eve getting expelled from Eden. I think if I were to watch this a few more times, I might be able to make at least a little sense of all the seemingly disconnected story lines, but I have no interest in re-watching it. None of the characters were at all interesting or sympathetic (except one girl cried on an airplane with a lot of turbulence after looking at a magazine-I guess that was supposed to make her the sensitive heroine). Half the movie was without dialog because of some weird classical or new age background music that intentionally blocked out all other sound. In one story line I could follow, Adam and Eve rise naked from a pond, watch each other urinate, fondle each other, see a snake, eat some fruit, have sex, get chased through a gate by police dogs and helicopters; then get jeered at by a crowd and get embarrased and try to get dressed.
Has any cinematic good ever come from having a dream sequence featuring a mime?