Bad Timing: Criterion Collection

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Dr. Alex Linden (Art Garfunkel) is a skilled psychoanalyst, one who seen countless lives destroyed by out of control obsessions. He has seen the way love and sex can be distorted into vicious forces, with the power to ruin lives, even end lives. He knows the signs, he knows how those kind of situations arise and advance, but could even he be tempted to risk it all? As a young woman named Milena (Theresa Russell) is treated at a hospital for an overdose of pills, Alex talks with Inspector Netusil (Harvey Keitel). He should have be able to read the signs and avoid this kind of horrific conclusion, but like so many he has treated, Alex fell victim to obsession. As Netusil tries to piece together the events that brought Milena to the edge of death, the past between Alex and Milena is revealed, strand by strand. Where did the affair take a wrong turn and in the end, will the tryst cost both lovers their lives?

Nicolas Roeg must love to work with musicians, as he has crafted motion pictures with leads like David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and in this case, Art Garfunkel. If you’ve never seen this film before, it is quite serious and often veers into disturbing areas. I am not one to remark on someone’s appearance, but come on, Garfunkel looks like he always does, a disheveled junior high principal. As much as I tried to suspend my disbelief, I couldn’t do it, as he just wasn’t an acceptable lead. We’ve all seen movies that might have been good, but we just couldn’t get into, because of the casting decisions. I am not alone in my opinion on Garfunkel here, but some praise his work, so perhaps there is merit to his performance. As far as the film in other respects, I think Roeg’s narrative methods might turn some folks off, but the film is quite well done. The subject matter is intense, to the point that objections arose with the distributors back in production, but Roeg tells the story with great skill. In the end, I have to give Bad Timing a moderate recommendation. I liked the movie on the whole, but Garfunkel really took away from the film, which is a real shame.

Video: How does it look?

Bad Timing is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. As per usual, Criterion has drummed up a top notch presentation, complete with digital restoration. I’ve done comparisons between this and an import edition and hands down, Criterion’s treatment is the superior release. The print is in excellent condition, with few marks and minimal softness to mention. The visual detail is impressive too, with a lot more subtle touches visible in this new transfer. I found colors to be quite bold, more than expected, while contrast is superb, with stark black levels and no loss of detail. This just another top drawer presentation from Criterion, so even if you own the import, you’ll want to upgrade to this edition.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio doesn’t stack up quite as well, but it doesn’t falter too much either. The original mono version is used here and while it is decent, the superb musical soundtrack is limited. The music here is amazing in all respects, but comes off as rather flat and harsh at times here. I didn’t notice much distortion, but this score deserves so much better than this. The rest of the mix is up to par though, with no serious issues to mention in the end. The sound effects & dialogue seem clear and aside from some minor harshness, always come across in fine form and at a proper balance. This disc also includes English subtitles, should you need them.

Supplements: What are the extras?

You can view some new interviews with director Nicolas Roeg, star Theresa Russell, and producer Jeremy Thomas, who share their memories. The focus is on how unusual and tense the shoot was, thanks to the subject matter involved and odd shoot schedule. These are not fluff pieces by any stretch, instead we’re given candid and quite informative interviews. This disc also includes a selection of still photos & posters, some deleted scenes, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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