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The Loss of Sexual Innocence Review

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Nic is seen as a small boy in Kenya in 1954, an unhappy fatty at school back in Britain, and a broodingly handsome adolescent (Meyers). The adult Nic (Sands) is a movie producer who leaves an idyllic cottage and marriage in England to venture to Rome and North Africa, which gets him involved with half of a set of separated Italian twins (Burrows) and her volatile sometime lover.

★★★★★

The Loss Of Sexual Innocence is one of those personal projects directors can get financed after a commercial success, but would perhaps be happier left as unfilmed plans. Basking in the cachet of Leaving Las Vegas, and to a lesser extent One Night Stand, Mike Figgis raised enough cash to make this with a pretty good cast and a lot of technical skill, but it's still hard to endure at feature length.

The main strand jumps back and forth in the life of Nic, an obvious stand-in for the author, who is seen as a small boy in Kenya in 1954, an unhappy fatty at school back in Britain, and a broodingly handsome adolescent (Meyers). The adult Nic (Sands) is a movie producer who leaves an idyllic cottage and marriage in England to venture to Rome and North Africa, which gets him involved with half of a set of separated Italian twins (Burrows) and her volatile sometime lover.

Though the whole project smacks of self-indulgence - intercut with this is a wordless vision of the story of Adam and Eve - individual scenes are effective: the snatches of Newcastle in the '60s are well-observed, and it winds up with a nasty bit of business in the desert.

Sands and Burrows, often caricature players, deliver extremely subtle work, while the rest of the cast make the best of micro-roles. But the failing that truly sinks the film is its humourlessness, which makes the sex scenes especially silly (a rear-entry scene in which Julian pokes his wife while she's chopping carrots deserves the cinematic version of the literary 'Bad Sex' award).

Now he's got this off his chest, let's hope Figgis can get back to the good stuff.

Now he's got this off his chest, let's hope Figgis can get back to the good stuff.

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