"In order to truly appreciate this film, you really need to compare it to another film on the same subject of random one-time infidelity that came out ten years earlier: 1987's "Fatal Attraction." That film provided us with graphic voyeuristic pleasure alongside moralistic self-satisfaction, titillating us with a sensationalistic view of adulterous casual sex which leads to divine/karmic retribution as the spurned One-Time Other Woman morphs into a vengeful psycho. The message of "Fatal Attraction" was crystal clear and clicked with Reaganite America: stick to the safe and narrow, or terrible things will happen to you!In contrast, 1997's "One Night Stand" implies the opposite: let things flow and DIVERGE from the safe, familiar everyday even just once...and incredible personal and interpersonal transformation blossoms. For many, it's a disturbing subtext: take a chance, walk on the (somewhat) "wild" side, and your bliss just might follow!It's easy to see why this film got such mixed reviews here in the States, and such good reviews in Europe: it bravely refuses to follow the standard American cliches about sexuality, marriage, materialism, "success," AIDS, death and life itself. And there's a brilliant unspoken reversal of popular racial stereotypes and typical Hollywood stock roles: a Chinese-American woman (Ming-Na) is loud, aggressive, and sexually voracious while her African-American husband (Snipes) is quiet, introspective, intellectual, and sexually subdued in comparison. A beautiful blonde woman (Kinski) is actually a super-intelligent astrophysicist. A straight black man and a flamboyantly gay man (Downey Jr.) are longtime best friends. The gay man is dying of AIDS but refuses to engage in regrets or self-pity. And the sex scene between the two initial adulterers, Snipes and Kinski, is actually very restrained, non-sensationalistic, and emotionally substantiative---not the frantic animal lust portrayed in "Fatal Attraction" but two fragile human beings taking blessed refuge in each other during a passing fortuitous moment.And that's what this film is really all about: life as a series of passing moments, which must each in its own turn be honored and lived as fully as possible. The cinematography and score are seamlessly stunning, so the DVD format should serve well. Granted, there are a few contrived plot turns, the dialogue does sound a bit written in two or three places, and it does put a LOT of things on your plate. Bittersweet and poignant and a feast for both eyes and ears and even the gray matter between the ears. This is not some simple-minded, focus-group-pandering, saccharine feel-good Hollywood schmaltzfest but a mature, subtle, and passionately challenging film that Mike Figgis probably would never have had the chance to make were it not for the success of his "Leaving Las Vegas" which preceded this movie. Too bad for Hollywood..."
Find your Bliss
D. O'Bryant | South Bend, IN United States | 03/29/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am suprised by many of the comments contributed here. Either others have missed something or I've read to much in to the movie. The main character (Max) played by Snipes is a man who apparently has everything. He goes back to New York and visits his best friend Charlie(brilliantly played by Robert Downey) who has contracted AIDs and when he can't catch his flight home, Max stumbles into an intimate incounter with Karen played by Kinski. When he returns home he finds that there is something missing in his apprently perfect life. This is one of those rare movies where the sex scenes aren't gratuitous. The contrast between the sex scene between Max and Mimi and the love scene between Max and Karen are dramatic and telling. In the former Mimi is giving Max instructions while they are having sex. The sex is loud and energetic but lacks give and take, intimatcy and tenderness. There is no real emotional connection between the two. In contrast, in Karen's scene Max and Karen connect emotionally. and that is what is missing in Max's life in LA. There is no emotional connection for Max with his wife, with his friends or with his work. So his life is empty. The scenes with Charlie are central to the story. This is where the theme of the movie is revealed and that is what pulls story together. The acting was good across the board. Robert Downeys performace makes the movie worth seeing by itself. He avoids all pathos and portrays Charlie as a sympathtic character, not a pathetic character. Yes there are a couple of plot contrivances that stretch suspended disbelieve to the snapping point but the movie has enough strenghs carry the viewer through."
Not Figgis's Best, But Not His Worst Either
Joshua Miller | Coeur d'Alene,ID | 06/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""One Night Stand" is written & directed by Mike Figgis and isn't as good as the film he did before it (Leaving Las Vegas) or the film he did after it (The Loss of Sexual Innocence), and while it has more flaws than both of those films combined it still manages to be an exceptional character study. This movie, while it does keep you entertained, is not a movie to rent on a Friday night to be entertained by. I have to say my biggest problem with the film was the mood of it, it for some reason felt like a made for TV movie. That could have just been how I percieved it, but whatever. The movie stars Wesley Snipes ('Blade') as Max, a commercial director who heads to New York to visit his friend Charlie (Robert Downey Jr.) who has just been diagnosed with HIV. While there, Max meets a woman in the lobby of his motel named Karen (Nastassja Kinski, who looks a lot like Nicolette Sheridan). They only speak for a few moments, but there's this connection there that they both sense. Anyway, Max is returning to L.A. where he lives with his wife and kids so nothing will come of it. But, then he misses his flight. Remembering that Karen had been going to a concert, Max catches up with her there and joins her. Then after the concert, they're mugged and to comfort her Max decides to stay the night with her. Then, quickly and without notice; Max and Karen have sex. Both are married and both part ways the next morning, expecting to never see each other again. Max returns to L.A., where his sexually demanding wife Mimi (Ming-Na Wen, who provided the voice of Mulan in the Disney movie of the same name) and him return to their normal lives. Fast forward a year, Max is a different person; but then Figgis gives us something we know has to come. Max meets Karen again at the hospital where Charlie is dying...Add another cliche here and you have the fact that Karen is married to Charlie's brother Vernon (Kyle Maclachlan, 'Blue Velvet'). That's actually covered about half of the movie, so I shouldn't say any more. But, as I said there's a few cliches here; but I tend to ignore cliches, because that doesn't always take away from how good or bad a movie is. In the realm of Figgis movies, this is a hell of a lot better than "Hotel". But, at the same time (and this isn't really my place to judge), I wish Figgis would've done a character study with a bunch of different characters instead of focusing on just one. The movie "The Loss of Sexual Innocence" had Figgis portraying sexual (mis)adventures with one guy in various stages of his life. That would've been good for this movie too. It's not a bad film, but it's no masterpiece. Figgis's score is great and I think Kinski is hot, but as I said...It's not meant to be an entertaining movie, but it is an interesting one.
GRADE: B- "
Joshua Miller | 08/18/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It seems a good story line, and yet it wasn't fully developed as a good movie at all. Yes, it makes sense for Wesley's charactor to be attracted to subtle and beautiful Kinski and leave his aggressive though not bad looking wife for good. But, is this the only reason, which was not explained well in the story. A empty story, maybe, but I guess the script is not that good after all. Robert Downey Jr. as a friend of Wesley's charactor and a guy dying of aids looks never so beautiful in his acting, whether on stage under the studio's lighting or on his death bed, which is among his best performances of his career, not to mention the best performance in this movie. It has some beautiful shots and good music though, if not for anything else."
Good acting but story gets way too unbelievable by the end
Joshua Miller | 12/25/1998
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The first half is a fascinating tale of self realization and the prospect of getting lost within one's own life. But then it falls into a tailspin with one too many coincidences. The acting is superb. One other thing to note, the movie deals exceptionally well with interracial relationships -- mainly it draws little to no attention to them and instead portrays cross-racial romances as commonplace. This should be commended because most other movies would stuff it down your throat."