HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
Pebble and the Boy, The
Mosquito State
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Puzzle of a Downfall Child Unwelcome Reminder
Year: 1970
Director: Jerry Schatzberg
Stars: Faye Dunaway, Barry Primus, Viveca Lindfors, Barry Morse, Roy Scheider, Ruth Jackson, John Heffernan, Sydney Walker, Clark Burckhalter, Shirley Rich, Emerick Bronson, Joe George, John Eames, Harry Lee, Jane Halleran, Susan Willis, Barbara Carrera
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: These are rough times for Lou Andreas Sand (Faye Dunaway), and she is reduced to spending her days in her beach house waiting to recover from a nervous breakdown brought on by her high pressure lifestyle. She is a top fashion model, which has all her working life been detrimental to her sanity; she wonders if her memories are accurate or not, so has agreed to set them down with the help of a photographer friend of hers, Aaron Reinhardt (Barry Primus), so he can produce a project on her life. He sets up the tape recorder and allows Lou to talk, exploring her psyche...

And oh how she explores it, at great length, for an hour and a quarter after which your patience with this self-absorbed character may well have worn thin. And yet, Puzzle of a Downfall Child (dig that ker-ayzee seventies title!) does have its fans, with many citing it as the Faye Duanway performance that they judge to be her best. It's true that the actress offers a committed creation (literally at one stage), and goes some way to carrying what begins early on to be fairly tedious, but is it enough to stave off boredom and really make you care about this unfortunate woman?

That's the character who is unfortunate, not the actress. The central gimmick is that Lou cannot trust her memories, and even by the ending she is still not sure what she recalls is real or otherwise a product of her fevered imagination. So if she doesn't know what is actually going on, how are we supposed to? The script was by Carole Eastman under her Adrien Joyce pseudonym, and as she was an ex-model herself you expect her to know of which she wrote; not only that but director Jerry Schatzberg was a one time photographer, so the same applies to him.

Yet the insights into the fashion world are far from illuminating, and amount to telling us that it is dehumanising and soul-destroying, leaving us with the impression that Eastman didn't have the best time when she was going through a similar period in her life. Lou goes back to the start of her career in her reminiscences to allow us to see how she became the woman she is today, but if it's a chic Citizen Kane you're after, then you may well leave disappointed by this series of unhealthy relationships and unrewarding experiences.

Not that we can trust what she says, for example she claims that she hates flying on aeroplanes because her older lover from when she was sixteen was killed in a plane crash, then later on she tells Aaron that she didn't start dating anyone until after she left school. What Schatzberg and company don't seem to latch onto is that it's hard to sympathise with someone when you cannot believe what they are telling you: did Lou have those affairs? Was she raped? Did one of her lovers strike her or did she walk into a door? The icy Dunaway is capable enough to keep you watching simply to see her tackle another difficult scene, but the presentation is so chilly and cold-blooded that you're not even sure that Aaron deserves to hear all this, and presumably he knows the truth of it even if he's not sharing it with us. Music by Michael Small.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4782 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: