Saturday, August 10, 2019

Blu-ray debut for Philip Ridley's 1990 cult classic, THE REFLECTING SKIN

Early in the excellent "making-of" bonus feature on the new Blu-ray of THE REFLECTING SKIN, writer/ director Philip Ridley (shown below) posits that some movies pull you in immediately and hold you because you are simply drawn to them, while with others, you need to actively reach out; inclusion won't be automatic. His film, Ridley maintains, is of the latter variety, and TrustMovies would definitely agree. I've seen the movie twice now, and while I can appreciate many things about it, I must admit that I am not a huge fan. For me, Ridley's 2010 film, Heartless, is much more memorable: original, hypnotic, mystifying and unforgettable.

The main reason for rejoicing at this new Blu-ray release is the transfer itself. Finally, The Reflecting Skin can be seen in all its gorgeous cinematic glory. The photography, by two-time Oscar nominee Dick Pope, is extraordinary. The opening scene alone -- a golden field of wheat  -- should produce a gasp and a need for sunglasses, so blindingly beautiful is it to view.

The writer/director also has a great eye for casting; in the three of Ridley's films I've seen, each character, along with the actor who plays him/her, seem indelible, memorable, and near-perfectly cast.

The three leads in The Reflecting Skin are played by Jeremy Cooper (above), as the central character, a mischievous young boy with a vivid imagination and too much time on his hands; Viggo Mortensen (below), as his older brother, just now returning from active duty in the armed forces during the time of the atom bomb testings in the Pacific;

and Lindsay Duncan (below, center) as the British widow who lives more or less next door, in this tiny, two-horse town on the prairie. The themes tossed around in the film -- the atom bomb, angels, the afterlife, love, sexuality, family, responsibility, serial killers in a black Cadillac and, yes, vampires -- are rather clunkily assembled so that, while we "get it," some of us are still not apt to care all that much. (Heartless weaves a much more bizarre, mysterious and entrancing tale with as many oddball themes but with much more artfulness, it seems to me.)

Still, the sheer beauty of the film, together with its fine cast, and the imagination and skill that Ridley brings to each of his projects (he also wrote the fine screenplay for The Krays) combine to make the movie a worthwhile watch -- even if you don't go away raving about its brilliance.

From Film Movement Classics, the Blu-ray and DVD -- complete with commentary and Bonus Features -- hit the street this coming Tuesday, August 13, for purchase and/or rental.

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