DEATH BECOMES HER
Most unflattering of all is the performance from Meryl Streep. Streep, darling of the Awards committees she is and all, tends to fall disastrously flat on her face whenever she attempts comedy witness the abomination made of Fay Weldons She-Devil (1989). Here director Robert Zemeckis succeeds extremely well in tying her performance to the material and she gives a deliberately vain and unattractive performance that digs at youth and collagen treatment-obsessed celebrities with a particularly scathing regard. Goldie Hawn is well matched against Streep she has a scene in a red dress seducing Bruce Willis that really makes one sit up in their seats and take notice. She and Streep have considerable fun upstaging one another in a mutual battle of bitcheries. Although the show is stolen from under them by Isabella Rossellini in a minor role. Playing with a clipped Teutonic harshness and an OTT excess that belongs in silent films in fact, her performance reminds somewhat of Rotwang in Metropolis (1927) and draped variously only in a single strip of silk around her neck or a necklace and a series of coy camera angles, Rossellini captures attention completely whenever she is on screen.
The film itself though is considerably more uneven. It was made by director Robert Zemeckis just after his big successes of Back to the Future (1985) and sequels and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988), but received a middling reception both critically and from the public. Sometimes Zemeckiss black farce hits the nail bang on the head, but other times the scenes at the hospital and especially the climax with Bruce Willis hanging from a drainpipe on the roof it feels overblown. The party scene with throwaway cameos, showing Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison, Andy Warhol and James Dean to be rejuvenates, is amusing but fails to hit the note it should.
Robert Zemeckis loves to make films that showcase the cutting edge of effects technology the blend of live-action and animation in Roger Rabbit, the digital mingling of actors with the real world news footage in Forrest Gump (1994) and Contact (1997), the feature-length usage of motion-capture animation in The Polar Express (2004), Beowulf (2007) and A Christmas Carol (2009). The special effects sequence here are outstanding, with Zemeckis using CGI to allow Meryl Streep to walk about with her head on backwards and to add several hundred pounds weight to Goldie Hawn and show her walking about with a gaping hole through her chest.
Robert Zemeckiss other films as director include Romancing the Stone (1984), Back to the Future (1985), Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988), Back to the Future Part II (1989), Back to the Future Part III (1990), Forrest Gump (1994), Contact (1997), What Lies Beneath (2000), Cast Away (2000), The Polar Express (2004), Beowulf (2007), A Christmas Carol (2009), Flight (2012), The Walk (2015) and Allied (2016). Zemeckis has also produced a large number of other genre films including the Tales from the Crypt (1989-96) cable tv horror anthology series, the two film spinoffs Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight (1995) and Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood (1996), Peter Jacksons The Frighteners (1996), the computer-animated Monster House (2006) and Mars Needs Moms (2011), and Real Steel (2011). Zemeckis is also a producing partner in Dark Castle Entertainment, which have made a number of horror films including House on Haunted Hill (1999), Thir13een Ghosts (2001), Ghost Ship (2002), Gothika (2003), House of Wax (2005) and The Reaping (2007).