Splendor Movie Review

Generation X will leave behind an inimitable legacy. Splendor, with all its profound idiosyncrasies, will someday be considered proof.

Twenty years from now people will look back and say, "Man, everyone was so weird in the nineties!" and frankly after seeing this movie, I'll agree.

Writer/Director Gregg Araki (The Doom Generation, The Living Dead) successfully weaves together an unfathomable yet genuine love story with screwball humor characteristic of 1930s comedies. Splendor is the story of Veronica (Kathleen Robertson - Nowhere, I Woke Up Early the Day I Died) and her two lovers Abel (Johnathan Schaech - That Thing You Do!) and Zed (Matt Keeslar - The Last Days of Disco). All three are in their early twenties struggling to get by somewhere in L.A. Zed is a drummer in a death metal band and Abel is freelance rock critic. The two are complete opposites with nothing in common except that they both are madly in love with Veronica, who, is somehow equally in love with both of them. Veronica, feeling obligated, tells Zed and Abel that she is seeing two guys at once. However, neither is willing to give her up and after trial and tribulation the strange trio ends up defying all the odds, and move in together!

I'll stop there because to give away any more of the plot would do its creativity an injustice. I'll just tell you that it's like none other I've ever seen.

Splendor is provocative from the opening scene, but it has its share of flaws. Foremost is the pace of the film; an exciting climax and a compelling intro bookend lengthy sequences of dull plot. A few one-liners make these gaps bearable, but they simply could have been shorter and better. Another weakness is a future Veronica serving as narrator, reflecting on her story. To me, the plot spoke for itself; it really didn't need any narration, which often made for unpleasant transitions between scenes.

I get the feeling that this movie will have completely dichotomous responses from varying audiences. The twenty-something Friends-watching, Swingers-loving crowd should enjoy it, while slightly older audiences (and critics) might not appreciate it as much. Still, though, if just for originality, it should be worth it.


Splendor Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 1999


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