This World, Then The Fireworks

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Crime, Thriller

Adapted from a little-known novella by apocalyptic pulp-visionary Jim Thompson, written in the '50s but published posthumously, this exercise in period noir is a spider's nest of luridness driven by incest, nymphomania and murderous insanity, and all but suffocated by its meticulous production design. Warped by a childhood whose turning point was their...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Adapted from a little-known novella by apocalyptic pulp-visionary Jim Thompson, written in the '50s but published posthumously, this exercise in period noir is a spider's nest of luridness driven by incest, nymphomania and murderous

insanity, and all but suffocated by its meticulous production design. Warped by a childhood whose turning point was their 4th birthday, when they witnessed their philandering father's shotgun murder of a romantic rival, fraternal twins Marty and Carol Lakewood (Billy Zane and Gina Gershon) grow up

desperately, unnaturally dependent on one another and committed to taking the world for everything they can get. As adults, they run into simultaneous dry patches in their lives of freelance grifting: Putative newspaperman Marty is run out of Chicago for attempted blackmail, and Carol, divorced

from a wealthy husband and living with their religious, more than a little crazy mom, is reduced to hustling sailors in a sleepy California coastal burg. Marty comes home, and the siblings cook up more trouble than even they can handle. Set in the late '50s, this stylized psychodrama never has a

chance: It's strangled in its cradle by the suffocating weight of vintage dresses, curtains, knickknacks, tablecloths, lamps, cars, lingerie, fans, neon signs, ties, hats, girdles, dishes and gloves. Zane tackles his smiling psychopath role with relish, and Gershon looks fabulous in period

foundation garments. As the sexually troubled woman who comes between them, former Twin Peaks dead girl Sheryl Lee is sadly miscast, managing to look even less comfortable in her own considerably exposed skin than she did as the sexually troubled wife in BLISS.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Adapted from a little-known novella by apocalyptic pulp-visionary Jim Thompson, written in the '50s but published posthumously, this exercise in period noir is a spider's nest of luridness driven by incest, nymphomania and murderous insanity, and all but… (more)

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