Signs & Wonders

From the Chicago Reader (June 1, 2001).

Director Jonathan Nossiter and screenwriter James Lasdun, who collaborated on the very promising Sunday (1997), reunite for this ambitious and ambiguous thriller (2000) involving an Americanized businessman in Athens (Stellan Skarsgard) who has twice left his Greek-American wife (Charlotte Rampling at her best) for another woman (Deborah Kara Unger) but still hasn’t given up on their marriage. Shot in digital video as if it were a documentary, the film at separate junctures evokes Nicolas Roeg, Graham Greene, and Richard Lester’s Petulia, even as it takes up multinational corporations, political amnesia, the mixed blessing of American idealism, and some of the monstrous ways love can turn sour. Clearly it bites off more than it can possibly chew, and ultimately it winds up in a pretentious heap. (Some may feel it starts off that way as well.) But Nossiter, an American who grew up in Europe, and Lasdun, an Englishman who currently lives in the U.S., share a sense of cultural displacement that allows them to create something original and provocative. 104 min. (JR)

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