The Golden Boat | Chicago Reader

The Golden Boat

Raul Ruiz's first American feature is characteristic in terms of visual style (bargain-basement Welles), shaggy-dog plot, irreverent humor, and metaphysical themes (mainly oriented around random violence in New York's Lower East Side), but it's still a far cry from his best work. Hampered in part by the outsize cast and crew (reflecting the eagerness of Ruiz's New York fans to play some part in the proceedings), this mordant comedy, shot over two or three long weekends, is hindered as much as helped by the jokey cameos (Jim Jarmusch, Vito Acconci, and Kathy Acker, among others)—the self-conscious local color tends to distract from the witty yet monotonous gratuitousness of Ruiz's run-on dialogue. In effect, New York's downtown punk coalition meets Ruiz's dreamy doodling, and a certain amount of querulousness on both sides grows out of the brief encounter (1990).

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