A Thousand Kisses Deep
dir Dana Lustig
prd Ofir Kedar
scr Alex Kustanovich, Vadim Moldovan
with Jodie Whittaker, Dougray Scott, David Warner, Allan Corduner, Emilia Fox, Jonathan Slinger, Charlotte Lucas, Eloise Barnes, Julian Rivett, Stuart Martin, Chris Wilson, Pippa Andre
release UK 15.Jun.12
11/UK Goldcrest 1h24
A Thousand Kisses Deep
Time after time: Scott and Whittaker

warner corduner fox
raindance film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
A Thousand Kisses Deep A mopey tone and hole-ridden plot make this romantic drama rather difficult to sit through. Even though the premise has hints of Charlie Kaufman cleverness, nothing is developed properly, and none of the characters ever come to life.

Mia (Whittaker) is jolted out of her quiet life by the suicide of an old woman in her building. After talking to maintenance man Max (Warner), she starts to suspect that the woman was her in the future. What follows is a trip into her past, as she visits herself 10, 20 and 30 years earlier, encountering the love of her life, Ludwig (Scott), a womanising, drug-addicted jazz musician. Can she convince her younger self (Whittaker again, and Barnes at age 10) to avoid him? And what's his connection with her parents (Fox and Slinger)?

The script throws us into time-travel from the start, before establishing characters or relationships, so we never engage with anything. Ludwig is a slimy loser in each period, so why Mia fell for him is a mystery; his charming-musician days were before she was born. And even though these people have been in each others' lives for decades, there's no sense of continuity. As we visit the time periods in reverse order, everyone's always meeting for the first time, which makes no sense.

Whittaker invests Mia with some emotional resonance, even if the screenwriters contrive for her her to miss painfully obvious clues about each coming twist. Meanwhile, Scott is an ugly mess until we glimpse his swaggering younger self, at which point we finally see him sing (nicely) and play the trumpet (unconvincingly). Warner becomes a kind of mad-haired timekeeper with a magical lift that's perplexingly right where it always needs to be. The rest of the cast members are also only allowed to deploy one characteristic each.

This isn't much more than a soapy melodrama. As things get messier, and Mia must travel further into the past to fix it, there are some laughable anachronisms, head-shaking incongruities and silly plot points (look, a gun!). And worst of all, it's completely po-faced, without a moment of real-life wit. So it plays out like a lifeless, inept version of It's a Wonderful Life.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 30.Jan.12

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© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall