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'Head in the Clouds': Throw This Movie Up There, Too

By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 22, 2004; Page WE37

John Duigan's love-during-wartime affair is a snooze, despite all the sex and other gunplay.

Gilda Besse (Charlize Theron), a free-spirited American, meets and hops into bed with Guy (Stuart Townsend), an Irish student at Cambridge University in 1933. It's the beginning of a series of similar rendezvous. She moves to Paris. He looks her up. This time, she's with a gallery owner and is doing suggestive things with Mia (Penelope Cruz), a refugee from Spain who's also an ex-dancer. Mia, incidentally, has a pronounced limp, which Cruz (hardly the world's greatest actress) can't even perform without looking fake. Guy and Mia say goodbye to Gilda, then take off for the Spanish Civil War to help the republicans. Guy returns to Paris after that to help the Resistance. He can't keep away from that sexy free spirit! He finds Gilda has taken up with a German officer.

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Where are these star-crossed lovers going to end up? By this point, you couldn't care less. And you're ready to throw this film as high into the clouds as your throwing arm permits. The international star packaging on this movie is leadenly obvious: Put Theron in a sexy World War II-era tale with an Irishman, a Spaniard and a smattering of Germans, French and Englishmen, then watch people rent the DVD all over the globe. Not.

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS (R, 121 minutes) --Contains nudity, sex scenes and violence. Some French and German with subtitles. At Cinema Arts Theatre and Landmark's E Street Cinema.

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