The Night & the Moment

THE NIGHT & THE MOMENT. 1994

Director: Anna Marie Tato

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



As fans of Willem Defoe, my sweety Granny Artemis & I sat down with the DVD of The Night & the Moment expecting at least to see one performance worthy of our time. When the menu appeared to the sound of sappy melodramatic love-romance soundtrack, & a portrait of Defoe doing an awful impersonation of Fabio, my sweety & I simultaneously groaned "Oh no!"

So even before starting the film we realized we were stuck with a Regency Romance so we immediately took it out & watched something good instead.

But a day or two later I gave it a try. It was three-fourths Harlequin romance & one-fourth pompous stage play bedroom farce, as Defoe plays the Restoration dandy with completely faggotty mannerisms then begs us to believe the character is heterosexual as he exchanges barbs & flirtations with Lena Orlin's faux-witty aristocratic love-object.

In costuming & posturing both characters are right off the cover of a bodice ripper romance novel. Now & then one of the strained witticisms is actually witty, but the film never rises above the level of incredibly boring. Their sex scenes aren't sexy, the conversations not attention-catching, & there is no action worthy of the name.

Defoe so miscalculated how to play a combination of Cassanova & imprisoned Marquis de Sade that there is never a moment when his character is believable. The fact that the thin excuse for a plot has no mysteries or surprises means it is inherently void of suspense. Even as softcore porn aimed at the same sexually bored housewives who made Regency Romances a temporary fad twenty years ago, it is simply too tepid to praise even in that limited context.

If Dangerous Laisans were gutted of intelligence & cynicism, & turned into something mewling & mawkish, you'd still have a better film than The Night & the Moment, because you'd still have John Malkovitch & Glenn Close actually acting, instead of Lena Olin merely dressing nice & Defoe making nothing of bad material & turning in possibly the worst performance of his career.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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