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The irresistible Nicole Kidman (MOULIN ROUGE, THE OTHERS) powers a sexy thriller where appearances can be deceiving and nothing ends as expected! A lonely and repressed bank employee, John Buckingham (Ben Chaplin, THE THIN RED LINE) desperately wants to meet the right girl. Then, through a Russian mail-order bride service, he is introduced to Nadia (Kidman), a quiet and attractive woman who doesn't speak English. After several sensual encounters, John's fondness for Nadia grows ... until the sudden arrival of Nadia's two gregarious cousins makes John realize that he's in over his head. Acclaimed by critics everywhere, this unpredictably entertaining hit will keep you guessing as it keeps you on the edge of your seat!
If Birthday Girl is a far-fetched thriller, it's also a slice of absurdist fun populated by some awfully interesting actors. Nicole Kidman plays Sophia, a chain-smoking, mascara-smudged, wildly sexual mail-order bride from Russia who answers an Internet plea for companionship from a lonely British bank employee, John (Ben Chaplin). For a while, the two make a startling and intriguing pair: she apparently speaks no English and he naively frets over the veracity of the Web business that brought them together. The gorgeous Kidman and sad-eyed Chaplin are briefly the engine of their own unique movie, but then the other shoe drops. Sophia, obviously up to something mysterious, is paid a visit on her birthday by two Russian "cousins" (French filmmaker Mathieu Kassovitz and one of his own frequent stars, Vincent Cassel, also seen in Brotherhood of the Wolf). Suddenly, John's quest for a lover becomes a web of deceit and corruption. Directed and cowritten (with his brother Tom) by Jez Butterworth, Birthday Girl is hampered a bit by sluggishness and insufficient character development. But it is also original and strikingly entertaining. Tom Keogh
- Behind the scenes featurette
- Music video
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The DVD includes a very interesting, although rather short, documentary on the making of the movie. I was interested to find out that the actors portraying Nadia's (Kidman's) cousin and his friend were in fact French, not Russian. Neither was a native speaker of Russian, although they did a fine job at speaking the language in the movie. Also included is a music video of the Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman duet on "Somthin' Stupid". However, a director's commentary is sadly missing (it's inclusion would have rated this a 5-star rating). Also, it would have been nice to have the movie's trailer included (I always like to watch the trailer before right before watching the movie).