Inspired by the haunting music of composer Franz Liszt, Liebestraum is an ominous tale (Time Out) of lust, jealousy and murder. Award-winning* writer/director Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) brilliantly weaves a 'smolder... more »ing blend of sex, death and music (Janet Maslin, TheNew York Times) into a 'satisfyingly dark (The Hollywood Reporter), 'sophisticated, seductive [and] romantic thriller (Village View)! What begins as a passionate crusade to save a landmark building turns into a passionate love affair with dire consequences. Nick (Kevin Anderson), a professor of architecture who's come home to visit his dying mother (Kim Novak), knows he must preserve a cast-iron building marked for demolition by Paul (Bill Pullman), a ruthless developer andformer friend. But when he falls for Paul's wife, Jane (Pamela Gidley), Nick unwittingly tempts fate with his own life. For buried within the walls of the landmark lies a dark secreta murderous history which is linked to Nick and now may find him as its next victim! *1995: Director, IndependentSpirit Award, LA Film Critics Circle and National Society of Film Critics, Leaving Las Vegas« less
"I have a feeling most people would find this movie stilted and seriously flawed. I am at a loss to explain my fascination with it. It's partly all the cryptic symbolism that I never could decipher, like why is the letter N missing from so many signs? I suspect Mr. Figgis may have been sending some personal messages. The movie has such an ominous, dream like quality and so accurately depicts the loss of control that comes with obsessive and illicit love/lust. But I didn't find it the least bit romantic, as other reviewers did. In fact it's a pretty uncomfortable, disconcertingly raw picture, no soft focus love scenes and happy endings here. I strongly recommend this film to oddballs like myself who insist on digging into every hidden meaning, all you Jungians out there. Others should probably avoid it; it's definitely an aquired taste."
An ignored masterpiece
Francoesque | Manacoa | 02/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw a trailer for this on a now defunct late night TV programme back in 1991. It had me hooked from the start with stylish lighting, great music and sharp editing promising a modern noir thriller with shades of "Dead Again". Due to a limited cinema release the first chance I got to see the film was a couple of years later when I saw the box in a video store. I bought it immediately, figuring might be interesting. I underestimated. This is a fantastic film filled with emotion and beauty. The first time I saw it it blew me away. I expected a cool little thriller and was rewarded with something much more. This is not a murder mystery or a thriller, per se, but a love story shot through a noir lens. The soundtrack (also by Figgis) is astounding and the acting is perfect. Particular kudos to the then-unknown Bill Pullman who puts in a career best performance. Also, if you actually figure out the central twist of the film (listen to the conversation in the car between Jane and Nick) you will wonder how on earth Figgis got this past a studio. Ever since I first saw it I've been trying to convert my friends to it's wonders with much success. See it now and your life may not be better, but two hours of it will have been well spent. Remember: Only you can prevent forest fires"
Francoesque | 08/11/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The word Liebestraum has two meanings in German, "Dream of Love" or "Dreaming While Loving." Neither meaning would seem to be a suitable title for this dark film about obsessions and sins, and the ripple effects visited and revisited upon family members --unless it is that true love remains, in the end, out of reach. Liebestraum is also the title of a romantic musical piece by Schumann. A jazzed-up and decidedly unromantic, contorted version of the piece helps open the film. So perhaps the metaphor here is contorted love.From the start, there is such a creepy and unnatural chill in the relationship between the featured lovers that I could not care about them or their situation. I actually suspected the twisted nature of the ties between them and some other characters halfway through the film, but was not bored after that. There is that much going on, what with the plot twists and trying to understand the meanings (or not) of all the really odd happenings in the film --like a letter falling off of a sign or the crude sherrif taking an unbeliabely long wiz'. Plus, my suspicions weren't confirmed and fully explained until the very end.I did care about the fate of a frozen-in-time, caste iron building and also, oddly enough, about the man in charge of its demolition. A good man gone bad or a bad man with heartfelt remorse? Or both?? The feelings of this conflicted character are played out in the best five minutes of the film; the bar scene, and is one of the examples of why Bill Pullman is among the very best actors working today. There is a more recent film, The Guilty, in which he again manages to bring out the heart and complexities of a seemingly unsympathetic character. But in that film he was the star, rather than having just a handful of scenes to create that feat, as in Liebestraum."
Great music does not a convincing story make...
C. T. Farley | Normandy | 09/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Viewers sensitive to music,photography, and photogenic actors, may love this film, even be stunned by it. As often with highly 'esthetic' films, however, where the filmmaker expresses his love for music, painting, fetish actor etc..., other essential components can suffer. Here the story is predictable (character as fate repeating itself in the next generation formula) and for me the characters don't come alive--not so that I care about them anyway. True, the (attentive) viewer will discover a surprize plot twist near the end---does anyone care when it comes? There are great issues lurking here: quality of our life (compassion, love, beauty, craftsmanship) opposed to the quick buck with no heed to consequences. The male lead architect and his old classmate's wife-photographer who long to self discover by opening their feelings as opposed to demolition boss and mother (Novak) who destroy sooner than allow themselves to feel. But I'm afraid these 'great issues' lurk rather than come alive, with the consequence that I the spectator was uninvolved and unmoved. Mike Figgis had potentially precious raw material (including a charismatic leading man): will he someday, like a great filmmaker, turn the dross to gold?"
A great, great stunning flick
C. T. Farley | 11/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Best movie I've seen in years. The critics and I must have seen a different movie. Very romantic, with over the top emotion. Where has this movie been the last 8 years?"