Film Reviews

And Finally...

This epic series of 10 hour-long films, each based on one of the Ten Commandments, finishes up with a rare note of whimsy. But first Kieslowski revs up the emotional wringer one last time for episode IX, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife," in which a doctor must face up to the ultimate male anxiety: permanent, incurable impotence. Dourly suggesting in passing that his wife will need to take a lover, he is horrified when clues start emerging that she may have done exactly that. The jealousy and lies that emerge only make things worse, as one might imagine, and you'll be on the edge of your seat for the resolution. But once it happens, kick back and laugh at the final episode, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods," which opens with a new-wave song that advocates breaking all 10 commandments, and deals with an aspiring rock star and his straitlaced brother inheriting a valuable stamp collection, and trying to complete the series of stamps their father had failed to finish. They'd be better off selling the whole thing up-front, of course, but the possibility of even greater profits risks costing them everything. References abound in this one to "completing the series," and the fact that this episode does so in such an unusual manner, given its predecessors, only serves to emphasize the brilliance of the completed work.
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Luke Y. Thompson