Picks and Pans Review: Sphinx
If you have to sit through a tedious film, it is some consolation to be able to pass the time gazing at some of the most awesome sights on earth: the panoramic vistas of Egypt and its historic treasures, the ageless river Nile and, last but not least spectacular, Lesley-Anne Down. But then, even Egypt is getting a little old, cinematically speaking, after reverent treatment in such films as The Spy Who Loved Me, Death on the Nile and The Awakening. And Down, playing a British Egyptologist embroiled in the antiquities black market, spends much of this movie in the dark—in caves, tunnels, tombs, catacombs, basements and obscure plot twists. She is also shot at, molested, mauled, tackled, pounced on or trapped every two minutes. It's soon impossible to tell who is chasing her where or why. Frank Langella, as a bureaucrat determined to protect the virtues of his country's relics—if not those of visiting Egyptologists—is dignified but hardly lively enough to be a Down comforter. Where are those Walking Mummies when we need them? (PG)
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