This is one of the worst movies i have seen all year. How anyone could take something as clever and bizarre as Poe’s “The System Of Dr Tarr And Professor Fether” and come up with such an unspeakably bland and boring piece of crap is an absolute mystery. The most unforgivable aspect of this unforgivable abomination is that they clearly had the resources to make it work. The art direction and cinematography are very well done, the acting, though nothing special, is as good as it needs to be, and the budget was clearly there. Yet, somehow, we end up with an insipid concoction compared to which watered-down skim milk is sheer ambrosia!
So what went wrong? One has to wonder if political correctness is not a part of it. They do, after all, throw in a feminist angle (probably to distract us from the fact that they knew all about Harvey Weinstein and did nothing) by going on about hysteria and such, and this makes me wonder if they didn’t shy away from colorful, over-the-top depictions of insanity for fear of being seen to portray the insane as less than sane. Just think of all the wacky things they could have had those goony birds getting up to! Running around on all fours barking like dogs, swinging from the chandeliers while dressed like orangutans, getting up on soapboxes and going on about the Lizard People and the Russians, tearing visitors open and eating their raw, steaming entrails with soy sauce and wasabi! But no, despite all the potential for imaginative grotesquery, what we get is more like a Sunday morning bridge game than midnight at the cuckoo’s nest. Political correctness or just an inexplicable paucity of creativity, whichever is to blame, we are still left with a plate of boiled potatoes – and not even salted potatoes, mind you.
This stagnant pool of slime doesn’t even have the saving grace of starring Kate Beckinsale, mostly because it does not star Kate Beckinsale. Sure, her name is first on the credits, and she is upfront in the poster, and at one point the movie was even named after her character! But that is merely false advertising. Given the size of her role she should get third billing behind some walking nonentity i have never heard of, and Ben Kingsley, who really should find better things to do with his time. It is more their story than hers, so unlike The Disappointments Room, which is also pretty shonky, you don’t even get the compensation of spending a couple of hours looking at that pretty face. There is, quite simply, no redeeming factor to this train wreck of a movie.
Given the wealth of negatives and the utter lack of positives, i am forced to give this insipid insult to Poe’s memory the worst review that i can give any movie, which is to say that i am sorry that i watched it.