Thursday, 12 January 2012

Birthday Girl (2001)

At a glance:
This is a quiet but memorable British item that may have had no relevance today if not for it bein on Nicole Kidman's CV. Ben Chaplin (pic) is unassumin bank clerk John who lived a rather mundane, loveless life in St Alban before decidin to get himself a Russian mail order bride one fine day. The gorgeous Nadia (Nicole Kidman, pic) arrives only for him to discover that she doesn't speak any English. While waitin for the agency to get back to him on the matter, things turn out quite alright as they both struggle to communicate with each other in a clumsily romantic way. Nadia is extremely obedient and docile and we see how hard she tries to make John happy, especially as she indulges him in his sexual fantasies. John is very pleased with her and begins to fall for her quiet charm. Just as the plot looks headed for fairytale fluff, enter Nadia's two friends Yuri and Alexei (played by Mathieu Kassovitz and the omnipresent Vincent Cassel) to unsettle the mood. Somethin is definitely amiss and we begin to suspect that Nadia is not all as she seems.
Bad news on the doorstep:
If you don't find Nicole Kidman one of the most compellin female actresses in the world, chances are you will find this one a bit predictable and cliched. Despite a solid script, the stars do have to drive it.
Watch out for:
The giraffe jokes and some kinky Kidman scenes.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Neat little three-star romantic thriller with generous touches of wry humour. Chaplin is convincin as the inhibited John and it's easy to sympathise with his character. Kidman's role is humanised in a realistic way without being overly sentimental. There's a beautifully strange chemistry between them and I should think the audience get coaxed into wantin their relationship to work. This is a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously, with no real profound messages to impart. The value lies in its fluid, unpretentious story-tellin and adorably lazy texture. My chief complaint about this movie would be its slightly overly-sweet closin but I take nothin away from a generally well-made film.
Trailer for the curious: