I Want You

-

I Want You

For the last five years, prolific British director Michael Winterbottom has quietly evolved into one of today's most consistently interesting filmmakers. With the exception of Welcome To Sarajevo, most of Winterbottom's movies—there have been eight in five years—barely made it to theaters, but alone they're almost enough to give a good name to the direct-to-video market. Working with Robert Carlyle, Winterbottom made Go Now, a film about multiple sclerosis that could have easily veered into disease-of-the-week territory, far more memorable. The director acquitted himself equally well, working from wildly different material, with the Thomas Hardy adaptation Jude and the female-serial-killers-on-the-lam film Butterfly Kiss. I Want You, his latest work to receive an unceremonious video release, doesn't break his winning streak. Written by novelist Eoin McNamee, it stars Rachel Weisz (The Mummy) as a hairstylist in an English seaside community. After a minor bicycle accident, she finds herself the object of affection for a mute boy (Luka Petrusic) with the habit of recording other people's private conversations and intimate moments. It soon becomes apparent to both, however, that Weisz has another admirer, a shadowy man (Alessandro Nivola) who, as the film progresses, is revealed to have played an important role in Weisz's past. Like the Elvis Costello song from which it takes its title, I Want You explores the place where passion becomes madness, a troubling area of the psyche inaccessible to similarly inclined films (like Romance) that loudly announce their intentions. Winterbottom's movie is made all the more effective for the way it seems to inadvertently stumble across life's dark places, an element enhanced by its structure. Like recent work by Atom Egoyan and Steven Soderbergh, though employing a far more straightforward timeline, I Want You slowly reveals its characters' pasts, keeping it largely unclear until its conclusion just what drives them and why. Far too good a film to be ignobly dumped on video shelves (and a far cry from the generic erotic thriller its box suggests), I Want You, like other titles featuring Winterbottom's name, deserves the chance it never got in theaters.