Sound: C Extras: C- Film: C
Michael Winterbottom has achieved the interesting
feat of becoming a noted director without having a huge commercial hit, big
budget film, or even wildly successful film critically. One of the reasons is that he has not
followed formulas or been predictable in his storytelling. Butterfly Kiss (1995) is one of his
early theatrical features that helped put him on the map.
Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction) plays Eunice, a
“not-so-together gal” going from gas station to gas station asking for a woman
she used to know. She keeps swearing
she knows each woman she meets, though it is a put-on to catch these cashiers
off-guard. A sudden string of murdered
gas station cashiers therefore turns out to be no coincidence.
One exception is Miriam (Saskia Reeves), who lands
up becoming intimately involved with Eunice rather quickly, without knowing who
she is. Their lesbian love affair grows
so quickly, that when Miriam learns that Eunice is on a murder spree, she
believes she can correct the situation.
Winterbottom handles the drama in a realistic
manner from the screenplay, especially with the lesbian material, that is
unusually good for a male director.
Feminist film critics have been adamant about male authorship of film
slighting females in their films, as Spike Lee has been about white directors
not being able to do films about African-Americans. Most of the time, these statements can hold their validity, but they
are not absolute. Butterfly Kiss
is one of those exceptions that foil such an argument.
However, despite the success the film manages on
that level, the film runs into problems with its murder plot. Perhaps this was not as important to the
filmmakers, but the film was dubbed a lesbian variant of Ridley Scott’s Thelma
And Louise (1992), just the same. It
is more successful that Gregg Araki’s The Living End, also 1992, which
had two gay men (dealing with HIV yet) on their own murder spree, because the
performances are better, while the story is more well rounded. Winterbottom & Araki both miss the
deeper, three-dimensional character development the gays that inhabit their
films sorely needed, with the murder angle seeming like almost like a throwback
to Hollywood gay killers of the 1960s & 1970s.
The picture and sound are both below average, with
the colors and definition on the dull side.
It looks like a recycled analog transfer, while the transfer does its
best with what it has to work with. The
sound was originally Dolby A-type analog sound. The Dolby 2.0 surround shows
both its age, as well as the limits of the low-budget production’s sound. Dialogue is stuck too directly in the center
channel in the mix, when Pro Logic is activated.
The picture is full-screen.
There are barely any extras on the DVD. They include 10 stills for the film that
look a bit better than the film print used.
No trailer is on here for this film, but you do get trailers for Live
Nude Girls, The Fluffer, Cleopatra’s Second Husband, and Girls
Who Like Girls.
This film was written by Frank Cottrell Boyce,
edited by Trevor Waite, features music by John Harle, cinematography by Seamus
McGarvey, and is directed by Michael Winterbottom.
- Nicholas Sheffo