Donald Cammell

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Performance Review


Good
Definitely not a masterpiece, but very far indeed from a complete failure, Nicholas Roeg and Donald Cammell's Performance is some of the best and the worst that the cultural ferment of the late 1960s has to offer, containing within its quite forward-looking surreality the seeds of its pretentious demise. Completed in 1968 but then put to slumber in the vaults for two years before Warner Bros. finally decided to unleash it upon the world, the film starts off as a sort of Brit gangster flick with Cahiers du Cinema aspirations before morphing into a free-form experiment in dualism and perspective.

It's not hard to see why the studio couldn't decide what to do with Performance, as it seems quite perfectly clear that not even the filmmakers knew what to do with it. Also, probably having wildly touted the feature film debut of Mick Jagger, the suits must have been none too happy at sitting through almost an hour of Cockney thugs spouting impenetrable slang in footage that has none too solid a grasp on A-B-C linearity. To make things worse (or better, depending on your point of view), when the Mick does appear, he's playing a cadaverous, moony visionary given to quoting Jorge Borges and having three-ways with the two continental Band-Aids sharing his falling-down London home. And there's not even any Rolling Stones on the soundtrack.

Continue reading: Performance Review

Wild Side (1995) Review


Grim
Worse films have been made, but at least this one has a lot of Anne Heche naked. The story is one of ostensible high intrigue in the corporate world, coupled with high-priced hookers and federal investigations into all of this. Doesn't make a lick of sense -- Cammell wants to be David Lynch but he just doesn't have the script here to do it. Memo to star Christopher Walken: What is that on your head?

Anger Told Cammell 'Hollywood Will Kill You'


Donald Cammell Performance Mick Jagger Wild Side

Veteran film-maker KENNETH ANGER warned late director Donald Cammell of the risks of living in Los Angeles, predicting Hollywood would "kill" him.
Cammell struggled to get films made after his 1970 hit Performance, which starred SIR Mick Jagger, and was driven to suicide in 1996 after his film Wild Side was cut by its producer.
Anger, 79, says, "I told him to get out of Hollywood, but instead he stayed in his house up in the hills and shot himself in the head.
"I told him, I said, 'Hollywood will kill you. Get the f**k out of here, get back to London, which is a civilised place.' It was his own demons that made him do it, but it was a tragic loss."

Wild Side Review


Grim
Worse films have been made, but at least this one has a lot of Anne Heche naked. The story is one of ostensible high intrigue in the corporate world, coupled with high-priced hookers and federal investigations into all of this. Doesn't make a lick of sense -- Cammell wants to be David Lynch but he just doesn't have the script here to do it. Memo to star Christopher Walken: What is that on your head?
Donald Cammell

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