Bad Timing


Action / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 76%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 6490


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March 07, 2015 at 04:55 AM



Harvey Keitel as Inspector Netusil
Theresa Russell as Milena Flaherty
Denholm Elliott as Stefan Vognic
William Hootkins as Col. Taylor
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
867.82 MB
23.976 fps
2hr 3 min
P/S 1 / 4
1.84 GB
23.976 fps
2hr 3 min
P/S 4 / 14

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by IanIndependent 9 / 10

Doesn't Date

I saw this originally sometime in the mid eighties and thought it was good. Now I appreciate it as a modern great. It doesn't date at all despite Garfunkle's hair and suits. Roeg tells a fairly simple story about complex emotions effecting complicated people and is well served by it's main protagonists and the actors he tasked to play them. The film is well paced and shown in non-linear interludes holding the viewer suspended, picking sides in a relationship and wondering about the consequences which are not fully revealed until the end. The style is typical of the director but that is no bad thing and if you want your cinema provocative and intelligently emotional this is a film you will want to see.

Reviewed by lasttimeisaw 8 / 10

a well-accomplished, counter-cultural, innately candid examination on modern relationship and sex philosophy

Nicolas Roeg's little-circulated relationship dissertation between an American psychiatrist Alex Linden (Garfunkel) and a young American woman Milena (Russell) in Cold War Vienna has an uncanny and scandalizing paralleled real life happening befalls on its leading actor Art Garfunkel.

After its glittering opening sequences of a Gustav Klimt's exhibition, the film starts with an unconscious Milena rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night accompanied by Alex in the ambulance, ostensibly from an overdose, and in reality, during the film's shooting, Garfunkel's then girlfriend Laurie Bird, committed suicide by taking an overdose of Valium in New York, aged 26.

With that hindsight, one is prone to understand Garfunkel's sometimes perversely surly and tangibly perturbed state when facing off with either a barnstorming Russell or a probing Harvey Keitel, who plays Inspector Netusil, exerts himself in teasing out the truth out of a buttoned-up Alex, as the film's title refers, the timing of Alex's recount about the incident doesn't comply with the physical facts (car radio, Milena's state, etc.).

Predominantly, Roeg expertly expounds Alex and Milena's torrid affair by punctuating its aftermath story-line with stacks of flashback in a random arrangement, from the starting point when Milena says farewell to her much older Czech husband Stefan Vognic (Elliott) in the Czech/Austria border, to the pair's encounter, dating, a Northern Africa vacation (prompts Alex's proposal of marriage), to the toxic disintegration due to their incongruity (L├╝scher's color test Vs. Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky, are the obvious visual pointers). It seems that it is Alex who breaches his work ethic to strike the romance with his client in the first place, then we are repeatedly subjected to the disappointment of Alex's incompetency of his own profession, his botched attempt to understand a freewheeling Milena's psychological status, which can be encapsulated in one sentence (I'm paraphrasing here) "to love a woman tremendously, to love her more than one's own dignity", a pitfall hounds most men in our patriarchal society. But meanwhile, Roeg and screenwriter Yale Udoff also show up the mercurial side of Milena's persona, she professes to be a free-spirited soul, morally unattached, physically liberated, but more often than not, she is the one who backslides into pestering Alex after their breakup, which trenchantly confounds that very statement. It is a self-destructive game which takes two to tango, a woman's congenital insecurity meets a man's unrelieved self-regard, that's what Roeg rams home to us albeit his very distracting M.O.

Honestly, it is a mind-bending journey, strewn with zeitgeist reflecting tunes (Billie Holiday, Tom Waits, The Who and counting), where the two leads engaging in graphic sexual acts (and they are nowhere near aesthetically pretty), or exchanging their thoughts in soft-focus treatment. Meantime, the apparently persisting investigation from Netusil, eventually reaches its lurid conclusion without ever sweetening the pills, it nails the psychological nitty-gritty in the face of its morally repugnant revelation.

BAD TIMING, a pertinent name for its own ill-fated reception upon its release, is a well- accomplished, counter-cultural, innately honest examination on the caprice, intransigence, and ambivalence of modern relationship and sex philosophy, powered by strong performances, in particular, a spontaneously ravishing Theresa Russell.

Reviewed by sharky_55 7 / 10

I don't want to have to pretend I am for anybody

Bad Timing is about a man and a woman who were never meant to be for each other, and how the whole world can see it except for them. They meet cute at a party, they exchange numbers and are soon between the sheets. In time, their differences are made obvious. But watching a Nicholas Roeg movie is never quite that simple. He was a cinematographer first and then a director, but in another life he was surely an editor. Linearity is tossed out, and as we begin to make our acquaintance with the pair and their blossoming romance, we are also coming to terms with their breakup. Roeg smashes the narrative strands, and we are left to piece them back together with Harvey Keitel's Inspector Netusil.

Roeg loves his inserts. When Alex and Milena first meet eyes there is lust in the latter and curiosity in the former, but he doesn't just direct our attention to their gazes, but to their body language; fingers fiddling with anticipation and nervousness, hands tapping and playing with suddenly irrelevant objects. This is full body flirting, not merely exchanging suggestive dialogue. With his closeups Roeg maps Milena's physical beauty as a tool to be wielded, and an artwork to be spied on. He then pushes in to designate a lingering gaze - more immediate than an insert, with its forward momentum implying violation. Roeg's curious, zooming camera has an eye for documentary, and viewing his early work you can chart its development. It was used to masterful effect in Walkabout, which was concerned with observing human behaviour in the wild, and how sooner or later they dissolve into basic animalistic urges. It was also relevant in The Man Who Fell to Earth, which observed Bowie observing other humans and their performances, playing along as best he can.

Art Garfunkel is right for the role - his temperament as an occasional actor manifests early and later on as he attempts to make sense of a relationship not bound by the usual rules. Some may point to this as amateurish, stilted acting, but the character requires a certain degree of stoicism and reservation that has been ingrained into him throughout his life, as an expectation of his class and occupation. Observe his stiff outrage in the bar scene, where he watches Milena kiss another man and then straddle him a moment later. He channels his emotions into several conflicting types of anger: he is angry that she is kissing someone else, angry that this unbridled lust is part of his obsessive attraction to her, angry that she can placate him with a simple move, and of course angry that he himself lacks that carefree impulse to match. Theresa Russell is mostly empty sensuality, but...that's the point. To try and pry something deeper and more complex from her is to fall into the same trap that Alex does, and make the same assumptions that eventually lead to the splintering of their relationship.

Roeg splinters the very structure of his film's plot, through his trademark match cuts that juxtapose image and sound. This is the most arresting of his techniques, interrupting the moans of fervid lovemaking to contrast them with the choking of Milena on the operation table. Forget foreshadowing, this is telegraphing their demise in the most direct way, peering into the future of their severed relationship undergoing resuscitation. What is most intriguing about this method is not how it chops up time and space, but rather how revealing (or not) it is towards Roeg's specific allocations of nudity and vulnerability. There are sex scenes all over the place, yet in their frenzied passion Milena remains more or less partially clothed. Contrasting that she is completely exposed on the operating table, robbed of her agency, and penetrated by metallic utensils and strangers in masks. The most explicit nudity comes when Alex's final sin is revealed: not an act of love but literally tearing her apart, violating her body. Critics at the time reviled Bad Timing for being a sick film about sick people, but did anyone notice this sly irony? Roeg deploys his most graphic images as a critique of his own character; he can tear away clothes and dignity, but get no closer to what he truly wants.

Non-linearity can be a masterstroke if done well. One of the reasons I adore Annie Hall is because the cutting rips right into Alvy Singer, exposing his hypocrisy and sharply bookending the highs and lows of his relationships. That would be replicated in 500 Days of Summer, the Annie Hall of the modern generation. Both protagonists are lovestruck fools, and who better to tell them than the film form itself? In Bad Timing Roeg deploys it as a way of wilfully obscuring the end goal of the narrative, and making a guessing game of their breakup. But ironically this jigsaw structure merely lays it all out on the table, and prolongs their agony over two hours. We know from the start she will never change, and that he might not take that so well. I refer to the final shot of Roeg's debut, Performance, where we witness a character escape in a cab - but sitting there is an entirely different person than the young man from the beginning. In Bad Timing, all the cab takes away is someone who deserves his punishment, and the fact that we have know it all along.

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