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

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

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.