Not too serious, but definitely fun
Robert J. Crawford | Balmette Talloires, France | 11/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wow, the reviews here are pretty high strung, like they're expecting this to be some kind of serious avant garde film, critiquing the early 80s, the art/fashion scene rebellion against the dullness of suburbia, sexuality, etc. I suppose you could try to load all of that into this, but I saw it as a parody that pokes fun at these types of pretention more than anything else. You get some of the atmosphere from that time, the characters and acting are pretty good, and it hangs together as scifi. There are some fun mind games in it as well, which are surprising to some viewers, but I do not want to reveal the hilarious plot twists. That is about it, no big deal, nothing all that deep. If you look at it as, well, entertainment, you can allow yourself to enjoy it for the fairly simple thing that it is.
You'll Love it or you'll Hate it, but you'll always remember
Russell J. Grasso | Massachusetts, USA | 06/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a special attachment to this movie in that a) I met Ms. Carlisle personally at a family function and discussed the film; b) In the neighborhood which the movie takes place, I saw one of the first screenings; and c) I own and listen to the vinyl LP to this day.
I remember Ms. Carlisle relating to me in 1985 in her own words: "those involved with the movie did not expect it to do as well as it did." This is a testament to the quality of the film artistry (costumes, acting, cinematography, scene interleaving, etc..) albeit in the obvious face of low budget constraints. I think of the film as having the "best artistic bang for the least production buck".
The viewing value is not in its plot, moral commentary, projection of role models or "feel good" character, but rather in its brilliant snapshot, in grand vivid fashion, of that unique New York subculture which occurred in a specific place and at a specific time. It was a stroke of genius to stop and make this snapshot when it was and where it was or else it's neo-pristine form could have been lost forever. Without it, we would have at best some gothic shopping mall pop culture remnants. The reviewer from March 2002 below is right on target when he says "...the film gets interesting is in its look at the early 1980s New Wave subculture before it got watered down through commercialism and got swallowed up into pop culture". We are speaking of that area between Greenwich Village and the, often-photographed in the film, Empire State building; we are speaking of that period between disco and the compact disc.
One of the vehicles used to portray the subculture realistically, to the film's merit, is the depiction of the subculture envelope boundaries with the main stream. This is done by several "main stream" character developments: the level-headed logical German scientist who flew in from Berlin with a bad haircut; Jimmy's beautiful, affection-starved, Jewish middle-aged TV producer mother; and Owen, the silver-haired middle-aged college professor. The interaction of the main stream with the subculture is a key component to the film's (arguable) success.
Although the soundtrack, using an 8-bit synthesizer exclusively in minimalist style, can be rough on the ears in many places, it is one of the main components for the scene setting and decidedly one of the artistic forms the film uses in expository fashion. Simultaneously there is a set of more pleasant musical numbers which are actually electronic revisions of classical music, specifically a) Marais' hypnotic, but yet Baroque "Bells of St. Genevieve of the Mountain.."; Carl Orff's "Trionfo di Afrodite"; and Anthony P. Heinrich's "Laurel Waltz".
Why should you view such an off-normal film? After all, the main characters are unreliable drug addicts, the rape scenes are numerous, the colors are unrealistically vivid, the make-up is heavy, the neon is overplayed, the sex is deadly, the aliens are indomitable, and "good" coexists (but does not prevail over) "evil".
The answer is: like all the various substances consumed by the characters of Liquid Sky, it should be best appreciated for its "effect" rather than for its "taste".
Finally available again after 17 years!
3dgeek | USA | 03/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this DVD last night, but will leave the critique of the film itself to the other reviewers here.The DVD is very impressive, especially for such an underground/cult masterpiece. It contains three theatrical trailers, and also video of some of the actors rehearsing their lines before actual filming began. Also included is an alternate beginning to the film (about 13 minutes).Great movie to add to your collection if you are into ecclectic films! The extras really make the DVD version shine."
Twice-lived | Lyons, CO United States | 12/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sex, drugs, androgyny, fashion, nihilism, and aliens from outer space--a post-modern riff on the verb "to f*ck," and a postcard from the counter-culture on what they did while Reagan was president. In 1983 it all made sense.
Margaret's face-painting monologue, delivered in deadpan--"I'm from Connecticut. Pilgrim stock"--is the saddest, most profound depiction of loneliness and alienation, of rejecting roles you were expected to play and ending up with nothing except a mysterious ability to kill people with your vagina."