La Couleur du mensonge (France), Der Menschliche Makel (Germany)
How far would you go to escape the past?
Running Time: 106 minutes
UK Certificate: 18
Country: Germany, France, United States
I just had the peculiar experience of watching a screening of The Human Stain in a theatre where I was the only person in the entire room. Thinking back, it was one more audience member than this film deserves.
Set in 1998, this pompous big screen adaptation of a Philip Roth novel puts Anthony Hopkins into the role of Uni prof Coleman Silk. No problems so far, but these next couple of plot points might require you to suspend your disbelief just a teensy-weensy bit. First off, he has a secret namely that hes actually black. Yes, we know hes Anthony Hopkins, and Anthony Hopkins, as a general rule, is not black. In fact, hes quite the opposite. Hes white. White, as in not black. This isnt exactly what youd call a grey area. Anthony Hopkins is definitely white. Im 100% sure of it.
Next point to have you scratching your noggin is his ability in the pulling department. He goes out in his car one day, gives a lift to a stranded woman (Nicole Kidman), and ends up being invited up to her roadside hovel for some rumpy-pumpy. Okay, we get the impression that Kidders character here isnt exactly the most choosy of ladies but Anthony Hopkins? Wrinkly old white man Anthony Hopkins? The word baloney doesnt even begin to describe how ridiculous this whole thing is.
Of course, its all supposed to be deadly serious. Silk loses his job after being accused of racism by bosses who for some strange reason dont know hes actually black himself (cant think why that might be maybe because hes clearly NOT?). And, just in case were not taking it entirely seriously, theres some cringe-worthy melodrama thrown into the bargain along with a couple of references to Greek tragedy. If its all starting to sound a bit on the pretentious side, its because it is. In fact, it resides so far up its own botty that there were times when I thought I was watching a set of bowels.
You might be tempted to see it by what is, on paper, an impressive cast. Dont be. Oh yeah, these guys are decent actors we all know that. But, just as a football team can seem to have all the best players in the world but fail to gel on the pitch, The Human Stain is a film bereft of chemistry and therefore deserving of relegation. Going by the attendances its getting, its already fitting that analogy quite nicely.
It's Got: Nicole Kidman dropping her drawers like theyre going out of fashion.
It Needs: Heavy duty stain-remover.
Alternatives:Absolutely anything else that's on general release at the moment.
Thankfully this particular stain isnt permanent try to ignore it and itll go away.