Head In The Clouds John Duigan

Head In The Clouds John Duigan
It's 1933, mousy student Stuart Townsend meets "restless free-spirit" Charlize Theron and falls in love; he's sympathetic to the Republicans in Spain, she's completely unconcerned with matters political, but they manage to have a torrid romance across Europe all the same. Theron will do anything for a lover (and once Penelope Cruz hits the scene, she has more than one), and is largely indifferent to what people think of her, but the world seems to end just slightly beyond her doorstep, making Townsend and Cruz's enlistment in the Spanish Civil War an incomprehensible betrayal. A weighty exploration of the personal vs. the political? Don't count on it. This is middlebrow fluff of the first order — nicely mounted and well-designed for the budget but completely terrified of any of the issues it raises when they start to rattle the arthouse goons it courts. Like the object of its hero's affection, it's left-wing enough to be nice but not enough to commit — running off to fight the fascists is the result of vague "idealism" that gets disillusioned the moment it has to fire a gun, and historical events like WWII exist as a backdrop to the "real" life they inconvenience. And lest you think that the artistic, self-reliant Theron is some kind of proto-feminist heroine, rest assured that the narration belongs to Townsend — she's a magnificent enigma who must sacrifice herself to the real protagonist's hard-edged realism. The period design makes it somewhat diverting eyewash, but those expecting a real movie should look elsewhere. The only extra is a brief, clip-heavy "making of" featurette, in which the director, designer Jonathan Lee and the cast say how great it was working together. Duly noted. (Alliance Atlantis)