Thursday, December 22, 2011


Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell, 1970 (8.5*)
Roeg was also cinematographer

This is #326 on our Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls. Former cinematographer Nicolas Roeg shared directing credit on this one, beginning a career that included some visually stunning films.

Performance woke me up when I first saw it. In the beginning, gangster Chas Devlin, played by James Fox, appears to be running from some other criminals, and needs to disappear quickly. He finds an ad for someone wanting to rent a room to a lodger. He literally walks into the mansion and life of a jaded rock star Turner, Mick Jagger – who, by the way, when first seen is listening to late 60’s rap music, in this case “Wake Up, Niggers” by the Last Poets (who were absolutely great, and ground-breaking; I have both their lp's on vinyl), likely the fathers of modern rap, because this sounded just like rap music today, which hasn’t progressed much at all from the late 60’s.

With the help of his two bohemian girlfriends (Anita Pallenberg and Michèle Breton), Turner slowly ensnares Devlin in his hedonistic world.

So a story that begins as a crime thriller, becomes an existential tale of two men beginning to share lives and personalities, each providing something the other needs, an escape from a reality that’s no longer tolerable to either psyche, for different reasons.  For me, this is what elevated this story beyond the mundane, and probably why it’s still ranked as highly in polls today.

James Fox, a criminal on the run


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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