NICOLE KIDMAN – MATT DILLON – TO DIE FOR – 1995
Nicole Kidman is such a good
actress that, even in 1995 which was early in her career, she was able to carry
a film that had very little plot indeed and no suspense since we knew from the
very start that she was confessing a crime and the real killer, James, was in
prison paying for the crime. We also knew the victim very fast because it was
obvious anyway. And the end is what she deserves in the world of direct justice
And yet what makes this film
something more than just a plain tricky entertainment?
The first thing is the woman this
Nicole Kidman is personating, Suzanne Stone Maretto. That woman is a sociopath
and apparently no one sees it. What’s more she is an exhibitionist and everyone
is blind to it. She marries for the money and the connections (with the Italian
mafia). She is only in love with one single individual: her dog, and nothing
else. She dares go to a high school class for some talk with the students and
she sits on the teacher’s desk, more or less facing the students with a
mini-skirt (at eye level for the sitting students) that definitely does not
reach under half her thighs. And no one, not even the teacher, tells her
anything, discreetly of course, but that would seem necessary, especially in
1995, and though Monica Lewinsky was not yet an affair that kind of soft-cum-hard
exhibitionism was not exactly kosher, at least in schools.
Her desire to be on TV was an
obsession and her mafia connections due to her marriage were naturally an
argument understood by everyone without anyone having to mention them. So she
got her two minutes of TV time at the highest of all peak hour time: the
supreme prime time, the weather forecast.
The second thing is the vision
given in hat film of teenagers. Three are picked as the only ones we’ll see,
hence they are asserted as being representative, and in their class practically
no other student is really visible, I mean shown in any way. Teenagers are easy
to manipulate for sure, especially when they have penises that are bigger than
their brains. Suzanne Maretto turns them into victims in one single instant and
each one is the accomplice of the others. She picks the one who has the least
brain and she has her puppet on her strings. The most surprising element is
that no one seems to see anything nor to care – if they see something.
The third thing is the fact that
she manages to go through the whole assassination of her husband and the police
and justice procedure unharmed because she tells a tall tale about her husband
being addicted to cocaine to which the teenagers she has manipulated had
introduced him, and they became feral when he decided to drop the habit. It is
a pure lie but she can manage to get it through as if it were holy water or Saint
Emilion wine. What’s more she manages to practically have a press conference on
the steps of the police station or court when she is apprehended for
questioning. The cops are by far more lenient than they should be.
You can beat about the bush as much
as you want but something is fishy in this community (that reminds me a lot of
Twin Peaks, echoed by “Teens Speak Out”) where an unknown woman who marries the
son of a mafia family is a social climber and gets her TV time that makes her
locally famous, and from this moment onward she can do anything she wants even
the most incredible capers and everyone let her do it and go on to doing more.
Her blabber about “America,
liberty and all the rest” is nearly an insult to the public who takes the tone
of the declaration as a true American heart-deep truth and belief.
Is it the very dark, octopus ink
dark sense of humor of Gus Van Sant that makes all that incredible fable
believable? Probably, plus the mesmerizing presence of Nicole Kidman and her
partly denuded body under her mini-skirt probably that defuse any kind of
inclination to protest. Give them the thighs they like and you can tell any
kind of rant: they will accept it and believe it.
A great actress in spite of all
in a rather unfathomable rave-movie of the rave-party family. I loved the TV
destroyed with a bat as if we were in some game of mailbox baseball.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU