Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
The Centre of the World (2001)

A director who fiercely pursues his own ideas, to the point where he is happy to swap the lushness of film for the more insipid-looking digital video, Wayne Wang has fashioned a sexually frank tale of urban isolation and emotional need out of the dotcom revolution. The story that unfurls is one of a brilliant computer engineer who pays a stripper to travel with him to Las Vegas for a weekend of pleasure.

The engineer has to step beyond the fact that technology has become his only reality, while the woman struggles to maintain the divide between her stripper self and what really makes her tick. Each, it seems, has forgotten how to feel.

Wayne Wang is a truly diverse director. Having made the recognisably Hollywood "Anywhere But Here" (a mother-daughter tussle starring Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman), he also came up with the personal and eccentric "Smoke", and "Blue in the Face" (Harvey Keitel ran a Brooklyn cigar store in both).

In this film, Molly Parker and Peter Starsgaard are good at communicating the hardship of their struggles, and the director proves expert at picking up feelings from blank stares. Unfortunately, the film gets stuck in a groove - the hotel room where the pair spend far too long circling each other.

End Credits

Director: Wayne Wang

Writer: Ellen Benjamin Wong

Stars: Molly Parker, Peter Sarsgaard, Mel Gorham, Jason McCabe, Balthazar Getty, Carla Gugino

Genre: Drama

Length: 86 minutes

Cinema: 21 September 2001

Country: USA

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