Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus DVD Review
by Kam Williams
Freak Photographer Bio-Pic Available on DVD
Diane "Doon" Arbus (1923-1971) made a career out of photographing freaks, with her subjects ranging from nudists to dwarves to drag queens to giants and beyond. Prints of this voyeur's work have sold for as much as a half-million dollars, for she had an incomparable eye and a knack for finding weirdoes willing to pose for the camera. Suffering from depression for years, this genius behind the lens finally killed herself at the age of just 48 by slitting her wrists after popping a handful of sleeping pills.
Unfortunately, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (Nicole Kidman) is not a film for fans familiar with her story, because the picture renders this celebrated artist unrecognizable. In fact, both her personal and professional lives are given short shrift by this bio-pic which opts to focus on a fictional relationship between her and a mysterious neighbor named Lionel (Robert Downey, Jr.), a man who never leaves his Manhattan apartment without a mask.
Curious Diane discovers that he's afflicted with a condition which causes hair to grow all over his body, including his face. And despite being married with two kids, she becomes intrigued enough with him to neglect her family. Fur is a farcical film which would have us believe that it was through this liaison with Lionel that she developed her fascination with an assortment of bizarre characters, essentially implying in the process that she was little more than a bored housewife who lucked into a very lucrative diversion.
And after seriously contemplating killing herself, she suddenly remembers that she has kids to raise, and thinks better of it for a happily-ever-after ending. Mildly amusing, but only if approached as pure fabrication.
Good (2 stars)
Rated R for graphic nudity, sexuality, and profanity.
Running time: 120 minutes
Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Director's commentary, and deleted scenes with optional director's commentary and theatrical trailer.
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