Movie of the Week: Bad Timing (1980)

Nicolas Roeg directs Theresa Russell, Art Garfunkel and Harvey Keitel in this dark psychological drama about an academic who starts an affair with a troubled woman in Vienna.   

I originally watched this as part of the Moviedrome series on the BBC. It was a bit too complex for my immature mind to fully comprehend but flashes from it have stayed in the memory cells for decades. Happenstance meant I revisited it on the day Nicolas Roeg died. Strangers in a stranger land, drawn to their fates like moths to beautiful flames. It is visually stunning, featuring all of his trademark time jumps and that sweet, sweet fractural storytelling prowess you’d expect. Russell is fantastic as the unstable woman trying to be free of controlling men. It feels very prescient. I get the inkling this is the kind of art film Kubrick wanted to make from Eye Wide Shut. The looks and themes and the perverse desperation are all here. Roeg’s work didn’t just beat the Master to punch by two decades, his is the more red blooded piece, vibrant and begging for rediscovery. 

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