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Review (4/10)
(By Rich Cline)

Sally Potter takes a poetic approach with this lyrical and ethereal romance in which the characters speak in rhyme while circumstances threaten to choke their love. It's intriguing to watch, and punctuated with genuinely powerful scenes, but it's overloaded with dialog and ideology, and extremely heavy going from the start.

The story centres on an unnamed Irish-American woman (Allen), in a cold marriage to an oblivious Londoner (Neill), who strikes up a sensuous romance with a Lebanese chef (Abkarian). Once the warm glow of attraction cools down, real life reasserts itself, and the racial, political and religious gulf between them becomes a major obstacle. Meanwhile, the hired hands around them watch silently, unnoticed by their bosses, commenting on what they observe.

The message seems to be that we need to notice the people we deliberately ignore, from those we rely on right in our own homes to oppressed groups around the world. Within this a couple is trying to say "yes" to life in a world that only says "no". This is a very strong message, and an especially important one, but the film is so dense that it's nearly impossible engage with it. The wordy dialog is almost impenetrable, and the pace of the film is alternately lurching and draggy.

Potter's one trump card is Allen, who delivers yet another raw and achingly honest performance as a woman yearning to live her life, but held back at every step. Her passion contrasts vividly with Neill's steely need to control everything; both are bored almost to death. And the male-female clash between them vividly echoes the east-west/Arab-Christian divide between Allen and Abkarian, who's also good.

All while Henderson buzzes around the edges as a pixie-like cleaner, talking and eyeing the camera, observing that "dirt doesn't go, it just gets moved around". But the film's so weighed down by the overly artful style that not much gets through. We are alienated by the dull pacing and convoluted dialog and overwhelmed by the intensity of the film's many messages. In the end, it's challenging but dull.

Keyword : Eli, Rish, Action, Political, Buzz, Ant, Ate, Choke, Clash, Cleaner, Control, Ex, Good, Here, IRIS, London, Love, Move, Once, Red, Romance, RV, Special, Style, Take, The East, Tron, Up, War, YES, FILM, Eric, Ron, Tia

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