The dictates of the human soul left unto itself without boundaries eventually flourishes into an empty road of debauchery and corruption. The walls of self are raised, and the perpetual overwhelming ideas of what one may consider freedom interrupts the natural course of the human directive, Where survival in any given situation ultimately renders the end justifying the means to no true end.
In a story gone to the screen by Henry James, this film with Fellini like tendencies with hidden variations and overtones, manipulations and desires replace sanity and clear thinking. The obvious element of open selfishness never redeems, but condemns the spirit under the path of perdition. A headstrong woman who spurns the life offered to her from good men who pledge their love with honor and good intentions, opens the door to another, perhaps darker side of a parallel existence that becomes an unleashed, unmatched battle of wits with only one man playing.
Stealing the show in its entirety is the deceptive John Malkovich, who stands alone in a masterfully implemented director of events. The art of manipulation and betrayal is avidly displayed unashamedly in this open debacle of intertwining characters and plots to outdo another. And yet, many of the players are merely pawns. The only clarity present here is that there isn’t any.