Miss Julie

on December 10, 1999 by Kevin Courrier
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   August Strindberg's dark masterpiece about sexual degradation and interclass love and hate is given a somewhat mannered treatment by celebrated director Mike Figgis ("Leaving Las Vegas"), who is certainly no stranger to the dark side of erotic transgression.
   Miss Julie (Saffron Burrows) is an impulsive patrician who encourages her father's bootman, Jean (Peter Mullan), to seduce her. While being enraptured by Julie, yet engaged to Christine (Maria Doyle Kennedy), he uses Julie to seek a way out of the travails of his own class. In the process, his conquest of her becomes the ultimate humiliation.
   Saffron Burrows lacks the range to bring out Julie's fragile side, which would make this war between the sexes work better. Her pouting bottom lip only gives her the look of a female Elvis Presley. Peter Mullan manages to convey Jean's arrogance, but little else. Figgis wrecks the seduction, too, by putting it in a split-screen which confuses the eye and dampens the intensity. "Miss Julie" is basically a miss..    Starring Saffron Burrows, Peter Mullan and Maria Doyle Kennedy. Directed by Mike Figgis. Written by Helen Cooper. Produced by Mike Figgis and Harriet Cruickshank. A United Artists Release. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 100 min.
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