B. Monkey

B. Monkey is the moniker of Beatrice (beautiful Italian actress Asia Argento and daughter of Italian horror director Dario Argento), a small time hoodlum living in England. Together, B., Bruno (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers from The Velvet Goldmine and The Loss of Sexual Innocence) and Paul (Rupert Everett from An Ideal Husband and Inspector Gadget) form their own dysfunctional family, living together, taking drugs together, and robbing together. B. decides that she has to grow up, get a real job, and quit her life of crime, which is strange, since she is very good at what she does. Alan (Jared Harris of I Shot Andy Warhol and son of Richard Harris) live in the same town, but in a completely different life. He teaches third grade during the day and deejays old jazz standards at a local hospital at night. Alan spots B. at a bar one night, and asks her out. She accepts.

B. Monkey is a movie about trying to start over. Alan and B. fall madly in love with each other, though they seem to be completely different people. Alan is enamored with this beautiful woman that has decided to go out with him, and B. is attracted to the fact that Alan is normal. She tells him that he isn't beautiful and that is one of the things she loves about him. However, she doesn't tell him about her past. And her past has a way of catching up with her. Bruno and Paul have a falling out, and Bruno is kicked out of Paul's house. As Bruno becomes more desperate, he becomes more erratic. Meanwhile, Paul is increasingly despondent over the loss of both B. and Bruno, and has some local thugs after him for not paying them back. Each time B. feels that she can get somewhat comfortable in her new, normal life, Paul or Bruno emerges and she has to try to reconcile her familial love for them with the love she feels for Alan.

This is director Michael Radford's first film since Il Postino, another unlikely love story. The script is by Andrew Davies and Michael Thomas, based on Davies' novel. However, this film comes to American three years after its initial release date in Europe. Reportedly, Miramax head and co-executive producer Harvey Weinstein cut much out of the European version of this film. The resulting product does seem a bit stunted in places, especially during the budding relationship of Alan and B. They seem extremely different, yet we're not quite sure why they stay together. Over time, B. begins to change a little because of Alan, but Alan's character doesn't do much growing until the very end. Radford, like many other directors, uses music to help move the story along. Scenes with B. and her old life are awash in trip-hop and techno, while her new life with Alan is full of smooth jazz. The acting is decent all around, with Everett a little more subdued than he normally is, probably because Paul is either drunk or stoned for the majority of the movie.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
I hour, 30 minutes, Rated R. for strong sexuality, language, and for violence and drug content.

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