One Night Stand

Newcity Chicago

DIRECTED BY: Mike Figgis

REVIEWED: 11-17-97

Directed and written by Mike Figgis. Despite a schematic shape, like three quite different European short films, the bittersweet romance of "One Night Stand" has a snappy vitality rare in contemporary movies. Each stage of its production reeks of leaving a great deal to fate, running with ideas and notions about how to construct a story, going against the great weapon that the moneymen wield against a filmmaker's whims, that great weapon called the perfectly crafted, "finished" script. "One Night Stand" began as a one-page treatment by the notorious Joe Eszterhas, for which New Line ponied up $4 million (pretty close to the entire budget of Figgis' award-winning "Leaving Las Vegas.") When given the chance to direct Eszterhas' concept, Figgis asked permission to work out his own draft, which he did. Here's the basic story: Max (Wesley Snipes), a director of commercials stranded without a hotel room in New York, has an affair with a stranger, Karen (Nastassja Kinski); he loves his family, including his wife, Mimi (Ming-na Wen), but the new woman stirs something in him. On a visit to New York a year later to again visit his estranged best friend, Charlie (Robert Downey Jr.), who is dying of AIDS, Max discovers that Karen is much closer to him that he ever knew -- she's married to Charlie's brother, Vernon (Kyle MacLachlan). What will become of these five confused, fashionable people? Figgis does several terrific things, among them, attempting to make each character's dilemma sympathetic. Figgis departed far enough from the original that Eszterhas bowed out, cash in hand, and allowed the writer-director to become the official author of "One Night Stand." An early draft I've read shares the same loose structure as the film, yet the witty, vibrant, fresh-sounding dialogue that fills the finished work is not yet in evidence. Hurrah for improvisation.

--Ray Pride

Full Length Reviews
One Night Stand
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Capsule Reviews
One Night Stand

Other Films by Mike Figgis
Leaving Las Vegas
Loss of Sexual Innocence

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