OPENS FEBRUARY 13, CERT 15, 104 MINS
This is not quite Ishtar, but it falls through every trapdoor with a po-face, both incomprehensible and unintentionally funny. After the Dogme discipline of Festen, Thomas Vinterberg wanted “to say yes to everything”, but desire can’t give this ludicrously pretentious fable wings.
John (Joaquin Phoenix) arrives in a futuristic New York, where “people are dying of lack of love”, to ask estranged wife Elena (Claire Danes) to sign divorce papers. She’s a world-famous ice skater, and security around her is tight. Too tight: she asks John to help her flee “the corporation”, who are grooming captive young girls as her lookalike replacements. Africa’s frozen over, and gravity’s gone wonky. With us so far? Douglas Henshall’s her deceitful brother, and these three run from the metropolis into the snow. It all ends badly, with Sean Penn giving absurd, potty voiceover flurries from a crashing aeroplane.
It’s even dafter than it sounds. For all the art deco interiors and echoes of Hitchcock and Wenders, it’s a mess. The pity of it is: you can almost see what he thinks he’s doing.