Alexandra's Project

"Excellent"

Alexandra's Project Review


It's his birthday, and a husband returns home from work expecting a not-so-surprising surprise party. But the house is deserted, and all that's left of his wife is a videotape where she and the kids wish him a happy one. The children are sent off to a relative's house and the wife engages in a vivid striptease seduction. But she cuts her act short, beginning instead a one-way monologue to her husband, sifting through the complex issues of their troubled marriage. Clearly, Alexandra's Project is entrenched in the realm of dysfunctional relations and comes up with a novel way of handling it: a psychological thriller told in monologue form, where a husband cannot interact with his wife's "battle of the sexes" speechifying.

Directed by Rolf de Heer, Alexandra's Project is minimalistic and very formal. The actors, after a brief introductory section, have almost no interaction together, and it's basically a one man show as husband Steve (Gary Sweet) attempts to figure out exactly what his wife is going on about, and ultimately where she is. The wife, Alexandra (Helen Buday, whom some may recognize from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome), starts out simply, discussing their basic problems, but eventually it gets into issues of sexism, fidelity, and ultimately compassion. She does, ultimately, take off her clothes for him, but the effect is strangely unnerving after she's brought up her mastectomy, and the possibility that another person (and not her husband) may be behind the camera watching her undress.

Alexandra's Project is confidently shot and scripted in clipped, emotionally direct dialogue that's thankfully not resorting to Harold Pinter, David Mamet, or Neil LaBute (collectively, the role models for this sort of film). And though it's compelling to see a husband-wife debate where the two cannot interact, ultimately de Heer's project doesn't have much to say about sexuality and emotional violence that hasn't already been covered before. It may say something that such things have become banal within the cinema, and that we the audience are unaffected even as Steve goes through a meltdown.

But also, it's refreshing that for all Alexandra's transgressions, I don't know if her actions qualify as female empowerment. Alexandra's Project says that we're dead inside, and yet because of its puzzle-like structure of Steve figuring out what, where, why, and how this is happening to him, the movie is never a deadening viewing experience. As the characters brutalize themselves and each other, Alexandra's Project appeals to the viewer's mindfulness rather than teasing them for shock value. But it also begs the question: What does the filmmaker value? That's not immediately clear; but it's certainly compelling.

The bare husband Project.



Alexandra's Project

Facts and Figures

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 8th May 2003

Distributed by: Film Movement

Production compaines: Vertigo Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Mike S. Ryan,

Starring: as Steve, as Alexandra, as Bill, Samantha Knigge as Emma, Jack Christie as Sam, Eileen Darley as Christine, Geoff Revell as Rodney, Philip Spruce as Taxi Driver, Nathan O'Keefe as Man at Door, Peter Green as Chairman, Martha Lott as Female Worker, Cindy Elliott as Female Worker, Gemma Falk as Female Worker, Nicole Daniel as Female Worker, Duncan Graham as Male Worker

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.