In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_large_kfsd6ah9xdkz43jhnddlvw3incw

Fist Fight

A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…

Thumb_cure_for_wellness

A Cure for Wellness

As a fetish object, it’s impressive. But as a fully satisfying feature-length drama, it’s a bust.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Sundance Archives

Reviews

Rumba

Rumba Movie Review
  |  

"Rumba" is a peculiar deadpan comedy from Belgium, sort of sweet, sort of macabre, about a couple who are out of step with life but not with each other. It’s not terrifically funny, but then how could it be? The influence of Jacques Tati abides in the material, without his sunniness.

Advertisement

Dom and Fiona (Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon, who also co-wrote and co-directed the film with Bruno Romy) are schoolteachers and competitive rumba dancers — and dangerously out to lunch. Arriving at a dance contest, they realize they’ve forgotten their costumes, race home to get them, and drive back at top speed while changing their clothes, Dom at one point upside down in the driver’s seat while Fiona tugs at his socks. It’s one time you’re relieved to be able to see it’s back projection.

Their luck worsens. Just for starters, they’re in a car crash on their way home, and Dom loses his memory and Fiona her leg. This doesn’t much depress them; they’re loving and ebullient, and have each other. But then one catastrophe after another besets them, only one of which I will reveal.

Abel and Gordon, I learn, have long worked together in cabaret, tilting toward physical comedy. They’re essentially silent comedians with no need of a movie with a soundtrack, and “Rumba” has a bare minimum of dialogue.

Advertisement

They’re skilled. A scene when Dom tries to rescue Fiona after a mishap with a trash fire reminded me of that Buster Keaton bit where he tries to help a drunken woman into her bed.

The movie is pleasing and amusing. I think it’s intended to be funnier, but it’s too laid back to achieve take off. Yes, laid back, even after they burn the house down. Those damned wooden legs. Nothing but fire hazards.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Oscar's History of Pickiness

At the ripe age of 89, Oscar can still be a notoriously picky fellow when it comes to what constitutes a contender fo...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus