Release Date: November 10th, 2006 by Picturehouse.
The Cast: Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey, Jr., Ty Burrell, Jane Alexander, Harris Yulin, Emmy Clarke.
Directed by Steven Shainberg.
Interview with Steven Shainberg
BASIC PREMISE: 20th Century photographer Diane Arbus (Kidman) has a romantic affair with her neighbor, Lionel (Downey, Jr.), who has hair all over his body.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Although Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey, Jr. give decent performances as Diane (pronounced “Dee-Anne) Arbus and the furry Lionel, respectively, Fur often feels awkward, disturbing and dull. The film opens as Diane visits a nudist community to shoot some photographs. Months earlier, she spends time with her father (Yulin), mother (Alexander), husband (Burrell), and young daughter (Clarke), neither of which stands out as memorable characters. On the other hand, her bizarre neighbor Lionel does stand out, especially given his full body of hair which makes him look like a beast. Diane’s curiosity leads her to spend more time with Lionel than with her husband and, soon enough, Lionel becomes an important part of her life. In a particularly awkward, squirm-inducing scene that lasts a bit too long, she shaves off all of Lionel’s hair and then has sex with him. Unfortunately, the dull script by Erin Cressida Wilson never brings any of characters to life; even Diane Arbus comes across as bland. Also, the film ends with a very silly, unsatisfying line of dialogue that feels tacked-on and silly. It’s understandable that the real Diane Arbus was a mysterious woman who is difficult to grasp, but this “imaginary” portrait doesn’t really have enough imagination to make Arbus a particularly interesting character worthy of 122 minutes of your life. Her relationship with Lionel feels creepy and disturbing, as does most of this awkwardly-paced film. Director Steven Shainberg does show some skill behind the camera with amazing cinematography and beautiful set designs. If only the characters and plot were as engaging as the richly-textured visuals, this could have been a much more powerful and entertaining film.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Awkward scenes, dull characters and some bland, silly dialogue.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 8
IN A NUTSHELL: Terrific cinematography and set design doesn’t compensate for too many awkward scenes, dull characters and some bland, silly dialogue.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "F" Menu