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All Men Are Mortal Review

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A travelling actress meets a man who claims to be immortal.

★★★★★

Despite a storyline intended as an argument for living it up before the Grim Reaper swings his scythe, this alternative take on the curse-of-eternal-life theme turns out to be dreary and uninvolving. Based on Simone de Beauvoir's existentialist post-war novel of the same name, it stars Euro babe Jacob as Regina, a bored, selfish actress touring France with a troupe of jazz-bunny Euro luvvies (including Bergerac's John Nettles and Prime Suspect's Colin Salmon as a frilly Frenchman and trumpet-blowing Yank respectively).

Regina becomes fascinated by the forlorn hobo-esque stranger, Fosca (Rea), a fellow hotel guest who says he's immortal, skydiving unscathed from windowsills and slitting his throat to seal any doubts. His blithe attitude is the result of trudging through 700 years of history without managing to save the world or anyone he cares about. However, she reckons some amour with him will guarantee her fame forever, and they embark on a fidgety affair.

Dutch director de Jong (previously responsible for the awful Rik Mayall vehicle Drop Dead Fred) soaks the film in period detail but the fairy-tale concept cries out for a less naturalistic approach. It leaves the heart unshaken and unstirred, mainly because Jacob never gets a handle on what her role requires, but also because it relies on dialogue rather than acting.

With the line "Okay, so he's immortal, so what?" being about as smirksome as it gets, this ends up a passionless event for all but French literature freaks and fans of Rea's sad, hang-dog routine.