And Now… Ladies and Gentlemen (2002)

The first thing that makes you stop on your tracks with this movie is the very unconventional title. It’s kinda clever once you’ve seen the movie and know where it comes from but before that it just confuses you. It’s so unconventional and odd sounding title that you have no inkling of what type of movie this is meant to be about. Then you read the synopsis and you’re left even more baffled as to how the two are suppose to connect. I did kinda love how the English language Wikipedia page is so bare bones that it doesn’t have a synopsis but if you check the German version of the page, they even have a proper summary of the critical response. The Turkish language also has a respectable amount of information in it, while oddly the French language one is a stub. But I digress.

In a way the movie reminded me a bit of Night Train to Lisbon, which is another Jeremy Irons movies set in exotic locale with unconventional, non-linear story. Overall, I did like this movie, but it does take a long time for it to win you over, you really have to invest your interest and wait for it to pay off. Otherwise you’ll end up bored, because it takes awhile before Irons and Kaas even meet and a bit longer before they form a peculiar type of kinship. The story itself is very out of the norm, and a bit fascinating once you get your head around it. It’s not often that you get a bi-lingual movie about two people suffering from black outs coming together and rather than rely on modern medicine, they decide to try and heal their ailment by doing a pilgrimage march through the Moroccan desert and pray at the grave of a saint to heal what they fear is a malignant brain tumor. The movie is described as an thriller, but I can’t really say I agree completely with that assertion. Simply because it feels too broad term for the type of movie this is. It’s actually very hard to give it a definite label. It’s sort of an international drama, with European art house and thriller elements, but even that description fails to really give proper sense for the type of film it actually is. There’s robberies, scams, religious overtones about power of faith, some fatalism mixed melancholy, sinister schemes and romance… Just about everything but the kitchen sink. It’s very odd little picture, but that does make it a very interesting viewing experience.

Jeremy Irons is, as usual, delightful and sexy presence on the screen and he gets to have some fun here with his rogue of a character. He sails the world, gets to do several different impressions as he puts on disguises to rob jewelry stores through the story, speak multiple languages, etc. One disguise in particular must have been a real delight for him to do, as he gets to dress up and pretend to be an elderly lady during one of the many robberies he does. For a first time movie actress, the singer Patricia Kaas is wonderful in her lead role. She gives her character this is elegant fragility, mixed with pigheaded determination to how she deals with her black outs. The highlights for me is whenever Patricia was singing, which there are multiple instances.The theme song she sings is also superb, it’s a super sensual mix of French and English that suits the slightly dark but adventurous ambient tone of the movie.

In many ways And Now… Ladies and Gentlemen is one of those type of movies you kinda appreciate more and more after you’ve watched them on a artistic level, but you’re not in a particular hurry to see again. Far from being bad, it is more of intellectually stimulating side step from the mainstream cinema. It’s interesting, even if the story does not end up being particularly exceptional or particularly moving one. There’s a lot that I like about it, but as a whole it feels lacking but I don’t feel like that’s a bad thing here. It’s a bit paradoxical.


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