Four 1950’s cultural icons (Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and Senator Joseph MacCarthy) who conceivably could have met and probably didn’t, fictionally do in this modern fable of post-WWII America. Visually intriguing, the film has a fluid progression of flash-backs and flash-forwards centering on the fictional Einstein’s current observations, childhood memories and apprehensions for the future.
Plot Keywords: blown-up-skirt / 1950s / reference-to-marilyn-monroe / reference-to-joseph-mccarthy / reference-to-joe-dimaggio
Taglines: The object of every man’s fantasy and the greatest mind of the century are about to meet.
Certificate: Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Iceland:L | New Zealand:R13 | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | Spain:13 | United Kingdom:15 | United States:R | West Germany:16
Cast: Michael Emil , Theresa Russell , Tony Curtis , Gary Busey , Will Sampson , Patrick Kilpatrick , Ian O’Connell , George Holmes , Richard M. Davidson , Mitchell Greenberg , Raynor Scheine , Jude Ciccolella , Lou Hirsch , Ray Charleson , Joel Cutrara , Raymond J. Barry , John Stamford , Desirée Erasmus , David Lambert , Cassie Stuart , Meachell Dunsmoor , Daniel Benzali , R.J. Bell , Shinobu Kanai , David Montagu
Company: Recorded Picture Company (RPC)
Country: United Kingdom
Released Date: Jun 1985 (UK)
Film Location: New York City, New York, USA
Runtime: 109 min
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
pwoods1 » Nicolas Roeg's projects are variable to say the least, but are never less than interesting. "Insignificance" is obviously, first and foremost, an adapted stageplay: it's wordy and pretty-much 'room-bound'. BUT, it pays to view this film more than once: the underlying themes are not overtly presented and, what's more, it takes a while to adjust to the juxtaposition and role-reversals of the four protagonists: Einstein, McCarthy, Munroe, and DiMaggio.
Einstein is wracked by guilt over Hiroshima yet fancies the simplicity of a sexual liaison with Munro; Munro is sick of being seen as a bimbo and craves intellectual credence; Senator McCarthy is at the height of his witch-hunting powers but is an impotent sleazebag; DiMaggio is insecure about his celebrity, self-obsessed, and prone to violence. Each of them contains the seeds of their own destruction. Each character has a troubled, abused/abusive past and a questionable future. Gradually, we see that obsession itself is the central theme. America's obsession with its postwar cultural icons and mores; the obsessions of the protagonists for something none can have: peace-of-mind and/or happiness.
Compared with the theory of relativity, a proposed unified-field theory and, indeed, the cosmos itself, all the aspirations and interactions of Roeg's protagonists seem insignificant. Yet these aspects of the physical universe (it's all quantum, trust me!) affect us when they are applied to the development of the means to destroy us. Monroe's mention of the principle behind the neutron-bomb (without naming it as such) is not an anachronism per se, but can only be understood by a contemporary audience. Indeed, ALL the references within the script are only accessible to a knowledgeable viewer: one au fait with '50s occurrences/personality cults and how they affect us in the 21st century.
This film and its screenplay are either very, very clever, or extremely opaque and pretentious. Ultimately, however, probably insignificant.
live long and prosper 🙂
Review this Movie