Picks and Pans Review: Bad Timing/a Sensual Obsession

updated 11/03/1980 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/03/1980 01:00AM

Nicolas Roeg's previous films, The Man Who Fell to Earth and Don't Look Now, have won him cult appreciation, and this one could gain him wider popular appeal. Art Garfunkel, in his first screen role since Carnal Knowledge in 1971, plays an American psychoanalyst teaching in Vienna. At a cocktail party he meets Theresa Russell, another American living abroad, and it's lust at first sight. They make love, quarrel and finally break up. Russell then tries to commit suicide, and the race to save her life provides the drama of the film. As the uninhibited, hedonistic girlfriend, Russell is sensational, giving one of the year's best performances. Garfunkel, her cool, seemingly rational lover, provides a perfect counterpoint until he is consumed by jealousy. Harvey Keitel plays an unlikely police inspector checking for foul play. Roeg's easy manipulation of time may confuse some; he thinks nothing of flashing forward, back and sideways almost simultaneously. And the steamy sex scenes got it an X rating, which Roeg has appealed.

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