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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Siesta (1987)



Reviews and Comments

"The marvelous thing about making mistakes is that you can keep making them -- the same ones -- over and over again."

A woman in a ragged red dress lies in an airport field, apparently dead. She wakes. There's blood on her dress, but it doesn't seem to be hers. She can't remember the last few days. As time goes on, the pieces come back to her, and she meets up with some downright weird people.

Siesta is one of those movies where the end is unpredictable, yet its conclusion is inevitable. That part of the movie is good. It's hard to construct a plot whose ending is unforeseeable, let alone one that ends in the only way the preceding events could possibly be resolved.

The bad part of Siesta is that there's a ridiculous amount of excess baggage it totes around, to the point where I lost interest in learning the film's great secrets long before it got around to cluing me in. There's an insane number of purposeless surreal scenes that show the filmmakers' love of cinematography but undermine the plot. As for the weird co-stars, the resolution gives clues as to who they might be, but what I'm more interested in is what in heck are they doing? Ellen Barkin's character was the only one I could identify with in the least, and that is the film's fatal flaw. We may know who they are when all is said and done, but there's no explanation (nor, I don't think, could there be any) for why the act the way they act and why they do the things they do. Except for the specific events that clue us in to the film's secret, Siesta is a tiring sequence of seemingly random events. Yes, the movie provides something to think about and analyze. But that seems to be the movie's only purpose -- a gratuitous riddle for film students to unravel. No thanks. I require more from my movies than a jigsaw puzzle.