Monday, February 13, 2017

Carnal Knowledge

Carnal Knowledge is another foray by Mike Nichols into "romantic" relationship which because it is Nichols it means it's a descent into emotional pain. This film is not nearly intense as say a Closer, or Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but it takes a similar approach that presents almost every human as this irritable soul who act in ways only satisfy their own needs without even a base concern with others. We get three acts of a man (Jack Nicholson) and his friend (Art Garfunkle) as they get into various sexual relationships with women. Their college years based mostly on exploration, their middle years based upon their inability to deal with a woman past sex, and the his final years facing their inability to even perform. The film's message may be that men are pigs, right? Not really all the women are shown to be either hollow in a different way, emotional wrecks, as cruel as the men, or just a detached prostitute. The film has nothing to say beyond the a surface examination that sexual relationships can be paradoxically unpleasant affairs. It's execution is mildly intriguing at times, its vaguely amusing in moments. Jack Nicholson is technically at his prime but this is easily one of his least compelling performances from the 70's. A film of some controversy in its days. That feature is long forgotten now, seeming rather tame by today's standards, leaving only a middling film behind.

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