It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
There can be something absolutely liberating about a movie that makes up its rules as it goes along. "Montenegro" is a movie like that. It is about an uptight American wife who escapes from her husband's utterly sedate existence in Stockholm and spends two wild and wooly nights in a sleazy nightclub run by some expatriate Yugoslavians.
She leaves behind a staid, comfortable, affluent Swedish household, in which the only spark of life is the old grandfather's conviction that he is Buffalo Bill, and that he can find a bride by advertising in the newspaper. She finds herself in a ghetto inhabited by immigrant workers from Southern and Eastern Europe. She is surrounded by sex and violence and, truth to tell, she likes it.
"Montenegro" is the first movie in seven years from Dusan Makavejev, one of the great free spirits of moviemaking in our time. He does not see it as a protest against the exploitation of his poor countrymen who immigrate to Northern Europe in search of jobs. Quite the contrary. He believes that his life-embracing countrymen are doing the uptight Swedes a favor by condescending to live in their dull country. At one point, Makavejev says, he intended to dedicate "Montenegro" to the 11 million "guest workers" of Europe, “who moved north to exploit rich and prosperous people, bringing with them filthy habits, bad manners and the smell of garlic."
You can guess from that statement something of the spirit in which "Montenegro" was made. The movie stars Susan Anspach, the displaced housewife of "Blume in Love," as the American wife of a rich Swedish executive. The Swede is Erland Josephson, who played a similar character (from a radically different point of view) in Ingmar Bergman's "Scenes from a Marriage."