Reviews

Bigger Than Life

5

An unmissable all-American family nightmare from Hollywood maverick Nicholas Ray. Cash-strapped ’50s teacher and father Ed (James Mason) is given a year to live – only to be saved by new-fangled tablets. But the wonderdrugs unleash a monster: Ed re-emerges as a turbo-charged megalomaniac, raging against the banality of “petty domesticity”. With Mason splitting his seams in a hyper-intense performance, this disturbing, complex X-ray of the male psyche scrapes off the lacquered finish of conformist middle-America. As ever, Ray’s use of expressionist colour and domestic space is masterful: from the cheery, spotless downstairs to the dark, cluttered upstairs en route to a tremendous staircase climax as Ed melts down. The BFI’s immaculately chosen extras include film critic Edward Buscombe’s sharp commentary, a chat between Ray, Jim Jarmusch and critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, plus a 1969 interview with the director.

 

Film Details

  • 12A
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: July 30th 2007

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