The headscratching weirdness doesn't gel into a discernible emotional point. Greenaway is always worth a look, but this one is more disorganized and half-baked than most of his work.
Greenaway probes his idiosyncratic ideas about male fantasies, father and son relationships, chance, money,and revenge. Though the film has little more to offer than sex, little of it is actually shown, but there is a great deal of nudity. And, at times the shear oddity of it all is amusing.
Demands an awful lot of fortitude on the way to a relatively strong and even touching final reel. A weathy businessman and his son hire 9 women to participate in their private bordello.
But why they do so, or what exactly is happening is unclear and seems just strange rather than interesting in any way. Conceived as a dark sex comedy, it has no laughs and is scarcely even sexy.
Philip and Storey Emmenthal neither actor is familiar to me at all are a wealthy father and his worldwise son. Philip's wife dies unexpectedly, and Storey travels from Kyoto to Geneva to be with his devastated father.
They have a disturbingly candid relationship which includes open nudity, frank talk about their penises and even one implied night of sexual comforting. Each of the women has something quirky about her, though the script crucially fails to develop their characters much, once they are introduced.
One is described as a "baby factory," and has borne multiple children.
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She is Storey's favorite. Another Toni Collette, on the cusp of greater "Sixth Sense" fame is a Norwegian bank clerk turned nun.
Another Amanda Plummer has been in an equestrian accident, and is in a body brace. She has a strangely intimate bond with a large pig.