Click here to read ‘WTF Did I Just Watch?’ #1 Stoker
Click here to read ‘WTF Did I Just Watch?’ #3 Sleeping Beauty
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus is a very weird film. Not weird in the sense that it very hard to understand or to follow, but weird in the sense that it is just very odd.
Diane Arbus was an iconic American photographer, who was well noted for her black-and-white photographs of people seen as ‘abnormal’. Since her death in 1971, Arbus has often been described as ‘The Photographer of Freaks’.
Fur is a fictionalised version of the life of Arbus, played fantastically by Nicole Kidman. I have previously discussed what a brilliant actress Nicole Kidman is in my ‘WTF Did I Just Watch #2’ Stoker review, and she is equally excellent in this role. Even with an independent film such as this, Kidman manages to play the character with great complexity and emotion.
Robert Downey Jr. is Arbus elusive neighbour Lionel Sweeney, suffering from hypertrichosis (an abnormal amount of hair growth on the body). Downey is excellent in his portrayal of this mysterious and curious character; a nice variation to the many blockbuster-style films he often does. As he is covered completely with hair throughout the majority of the film, most of his performance is done only through his eyes, and even acting with his eyes only, Downey manages to play the role fantastically.
Even the supporting cast are a perfect choice for this film, especially Ty Burrell as Arbus’ increasingly frustrated husband.
The film has an excellent dreamlike quality to it, and a strong Alice in Wonderland feel about it. As Kidman delves further away from her average, housewife-led lifestyle with her husband and children into the ‘freakish’ world of her neighbour, as an audience, you want Kidman to explore further into this new world of intrigue and mystery.
The use of colour as imagery is also greatly apparent, with the dull, dark colours of the Arbus household contrasting with the brighter blues and reds of Lionel’s apartment. Similarly, the outfits Kidman wears throughout the film progress from long and plain coloured dresses to brighter, more revealing outfits, to represent her awakening amongst the world of her neighbour. Her hair style also alters from being mostly up to down and flowing as the film progresses.
Although at some points Fur feels like a tense thriller filled with suspense, it is a fantasy drama which I would most certainly recommend to anyone who would like to watch an excellent film which will make them think about it long after it has ended.
Published 7th December 2013