All those sweeping camera movements can't distract from how boring this film is. Literally, nothing happens in the last third. To the people who are giving this a high rating just cause they love looking at Debra Winger's beautiful face, there are better options.
Americans galavanting in the deserts of North Africa? This film pales in comparison to the excellent The English Patient and the unique The Naked Lunch. Many of the reviews seem to point to the source novel being unfilmable. Watching this film makes me want to pick up the book to find out what the film misses, and I suppose that is positive.
are you lost? yes. about the fissure, the hole and hunger of modern hearts, their curiosity, their dangerous immaturity or novelty … the modern and the archaic world of men, the airiness of the former, the evolutionary sovereignity of the latter … earth's ignorance and the friendliness of some places towards human life … the going with the flow … trying to perceive the whole picture, in time and catching it on film!
With so much of it being implicit, one must wonder if anyone was really invited to participate during this film? Even if you cared for barely accessible characters, their obscure reactions, or found a point in all that pretentious wondering about the desert, what was the core idea that's supposed to come out of all of this? Uninspiring work from uninspired director.
This is one of those films, like Jim McBride’s remake of Breathless, whose flaws are so numerous and apparent that it’s hard to overlook, but swings along and has a unique charm nonetheless. The good points: relentlessly cinematic, beautiful in sound and vision. The leads Debra Winger and John Malkovich are sincere in their roles. The bad is principally that its main purpose is obscure.
John Malkovich, Debra Winger, and Campbell Scott star in this fascinating look at people who want to set themselves apart from the pack, they are travellers rather than tourists, and the dangers inherent in their blasé attitude to the foreign climes they are visiting. I loved it, mainly thanks to the performances from everyone involved.
Walked out of this movie in the cinema in 1990 - on watching 28 years later my verdict remains the same: pretentious twaddle, wooden acting, shallow characterisation - yes the cinematography is wonderful but this cannot save the picture. Also Debra Winger’s hairstyle is so 1990. The original novel by Paul Bowles (who disowned the movie) is meant to be excellent, but on this occasion Bertolucci produced a turkey.