Bad Timing (1980)

Bad Timing (1980), directed by Nicolas Roeg.

It starts with the aftermath of an attempted suicide and the efforts in the ambulance and in the hospital to save her. From this recurring frame we:

Reviews on this vary from "a masterpiece" to "a sick film made by sick people for sick people" (that from a studio exec).

I'm somewhere in between. I mostly fascinated by Nicolas Roeg and his work with Theresa Russell, age 23 here. This is where they met; later they married, had two kids, made several films, then split up.

I can see how the drama of obsessive sexuality would appeal to some, particularly to women who feel smothered by men too much in love in the wrong way. It builds to an unexpected shock: a sex crime on the semi-conscious, overdosed woman. This is why the police are spending so much time with the guilty shrink.

Also: intercutting sex and the intimacy of surgery always makes me queasy. I must be thinking of serial killers.

Semi-pro actor Art Garfunkel is a curious choice for male lead. I shouldn't complain when directors make unconventional choices, and he's competent, but it would be a better film with any of a number of other leads.

Harvey Keitel is an Austrian police detective, no accent. Also with Denholm Elliott, German accent included.

Diverse score: Tom Waits, The Who, Keith Jarrett.

Criterion DVD. A region B Blu-ray is available on the Network label in the UK. My thumbnails are from the DVD.