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  The Rapture

rating: (out of 4 stars)

United States; 1991
Directed by Michael Tolkin; produced by Karen Koch, Nancy Tenenbaum, Nick Wechsler; written by Michael Tolkin
Starring Mimi Rogers, David Duchovny, Patrick Bauchau, James LeGros, Kimberly Cullum, Will Patton

You can say many things about 'The Rapture', but two things can not be denied. One: it is something you have never seen before, and therefore becomes at least very interesting. Two: it decides take a direction, and then has the guts to go all the way, whether you like that or not. I am somewhere in the middle on the liking, but indeed I was intrigued and appreciated Michael Tolkin's approach to his own material.

Tolkin, of course, is the writer of The Player, made into a 1992 film by Robert Altman. That novel is better than this film, but both show a form of great storytelling. 'The Rapture' begins as one film and ends as a completely different one. We meet Sharon (Mimi Rogers) and her lover Vic (Patrick Bauchau) searching for a couple to swing, exchange partners if you will. They meet Randy (David Duchovny) and his lover, leading up to Randy becoming Sharon's lover. The first part of the film represents lives in sin.

Around Sharon people talk about faith, the apocalypse, a boy with prophecies, and although at first she dismisses these stories, she slowly turns into a believer, especially when she has the dream of dreams - which, by the way, includes a pearl. Soon after that she is a devoted Christian, believing the return of God is near. Randy resists, but when we meet them six years later they are married, have a little girl, and have only one purpose in their lives: God, and the awaited apocalypse.

Here the film feels like another one, a new film, dealing with faith and the end of the world in a daring and original way. The second part of the film is uncompromising; saying much more would spoil a lot. The different parts in this film give Mimi Rogers the opportunity to show her range as an actress and she pulls it off. The sexy first part is in stark contrast with the grim second, and Rogers holds her own in both of them. In the slower parts it is her performance that keeps things interesting.

It seems I have nothing but praise for this film and in a way that's true. I applaud the daring, original, uncompromising style of this film. But this does not mean it is really that good. From time to time Tolkin skips a beat, he leaves things unhandled when they seem too complicated, and scenes in the desert (where Will Patton shows up) are slow. Although the only logical outcome is chosen I can not really complain, but I think othe directions could have been explored, at least hinted at. All this must sound vague, and it should, because you really have to see this film for yourself.

I would not dare keeping you away from 'The Rapture' by explaining too much.


  Review by Reinier Verhoef