All Men Are Mortal
Time Out saysWWII is over and Regina (Jacob) is the uncrowned queen of the Parisian stage, her avant-garde Hamlet the toast of the town. It's not enough: she lusts after immortality. Thus she falls under the spell of Fosca (Rea), an anti-social derelict who claims to be 700 years old. Could she live forever in his memory? Whatever its own merits, Simone de Beauvoir's 1946 novel emerges as a pretentious farrago in this clumsily literal Dutch English-language production. As a romance, it never gets close to the heart. Quite what the narcissistic Regina sees in the near-comatose Fosca is impossible to divine - and his own motives are no clearer. In any case, we don't care about either of them. Nor are Fosca's low-budget flashbacks to centuries past particularly impressive; any con-man worth his salt could contrive his supposedly death-defying stunts. Rea is terrible, morosely confining his acting to the eyebrows and up, but at least he's supposed to be mired in ennui - Fosca has seen it all - whereas Jacob is stuck with the thankless role of Europe's greatest actress, and in English. Perhaps Kieslowski might have made us believe it, but de Jong (Drop Dead Fred) is not quite in that league.