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Beautiful People

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Beautiful People

Starring: Julian Firth, Heather Tobias
Director: Jasmin Dizdar
Rated: NR
RunTime: 107 Minutes
Release Date: September 1999
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Dado Jehan, Edin Dzandzanovic, Faruk Pruti, Charlotte Coleman, Rosalind Ayres, Roger Sloman, Steve Sweeney, Siobhan Redmond

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie review
2.  MrBrown read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
3.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

Chaos. It's the name of the baby in the ironically named BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE by first-time writer/director Jasmin Dizdar, but CHAOS would have been a more appropriate name for this unappetizing mess of a movie.

Not 15 minutes into the film and we've already been introduced to dozens and dozens of characters. It's like going to a cocktail party and being shown around by a hostess on roller skates. Not just any cocktail party, but a multicultural one in which almost everyone is angry and unhappy and in which racism runs rampant. But thanks to the choppy editing and dizzying handheld camerawork -- is purposely shaking the camera really necessary to attempt cinematic pseudo-realism? -- the movie is like an incoherent story told by an inebriated guest.

Get your checklist ready because most of society's ills will make brief guest appearances. From heroin addiction to gang rape, they're all there. But they fly by with such velocity that you'll have trouble pondering anything for long, although you will get the director's point about life being hard and grim. He makes lots of other points too. Keep that checklist handy. Messages zip by like Super Bowl commercials.

One reporter for the BBC suffers from "Bosnia Syndrome." This affliction means that he has so identified with the victims of the war that he lies on the train track in order that his leg can be severed too.

The movie plays fast and loose with plausibility in the hopes of getting some cheap laughs. After two men pulverize each other on a bus, they are taken away and put in the same hospital ward, with adjoining beds no less. This means that they can continue their private warfare in the hospital, pulling out each other's tubes and punching each other. Never are the police called to put a stop to this mayhem.

In perhaps the hardest scene to buy in the movie, an ex-Bosnian soldier marries into a wealthy British family in which the father is an MP. At the lavish wedding, the Bosnian soldier's post-wedding speech has the crowd aghast as he tells them about his killing women and children. The filmmaker would appear to have us believe that it is a cultural thing and that the soldier doesn't realize how inappropriate his speech is.

Dizdar tries without much luck to wrap up his movie in the end by tying things together. It's a tedious film that isn't saved by its moral ambitions. Like a rambling preacher, Dizdar has a lot on his mind, but his lack of focus and his inability to create fully developed characters means that his good intentions never amount to anything. Sometimes less really is more.

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE runs 1:47. It is rated R for violence including graphic war violence, drug usage and language. The film would be acceptable for older high school students.

Copyright 2000 Steve Rhodes

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