The really interesting, decent part of Death Becomes Her lasts about twenty minutes. I remember always thinking this film looked interesting because of the moment in the trailers that showed Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, beating each other to what would be death, but the both of them surviving. It showed Meryl Streep’s neck all bent out of shape and Goldie Hawn with a huge hole in the middle of her stomach after a shotgun attack.
I was expecting a film where the bulk of the movie was these two woman attacking each other and the cool special effects that demonstrated their terrible but very cool looking injuries. Add to this Bruce Willis, caught in the middle of these two feuding woman, and you could have a film that was very funny and very original.
Unfortunately, too long is spent building-up the story and the situation and not enough is spent on the very unique and interesting premise. It’s a shame because the moment when Hawn and Streep decide there going to attack each other is done really well. The effects, particularly for 1992, are really good. The injuries sustained by the women and their reaction is even better.
The reveal of the ladies immortality is done brilliantly, with Willis on the phone while a twisted and confused Streep, fresh from falling down the stairs, walks around confused and muddled. Its a precursor to some fantastic injuries and brilliant acting from all three of the leads.
Streep is fast becoming one of my favourite actresses, putting in a funny performance in this black comedy but also portraying Margaret Thatcher perfectly in The Iron Lady at the beginning of the year. Goldie Hawn was always very able to do comedy and this doesn’t hugely stretch her or get her demonstrate anything she hasn’t already shown but its Bruce Willis who steals the film. His constant confusion, end-of-his-wits and hysterical ranting is great to watch. It’s easy to forget that Willis wasn’t always known for his action movie roles and that he is also very good at doing comedy too.
It just baffles me that the most interesting part of the whole premise is restricted to a small aspect, before a larger plot to do with a secret immortality organisation develops. This changes the focus of the film and places the emphasis on Willis escaping the woman, rather than immortal versus immortal and the film suffers because of it.
There are some more interesting ideas presented later, with the very disgusting conundrum that Streep and Hawn’s character has of how they are going to maintain their bodies, which aren’t immortal like them. Its presented right at the end and could be another part of the film that could have been developed if it had been given more time.
Overall, Death Becomes Her is a film with one central, good idea which doesn’t have time to develop. The performances are great, especially Bruce Willis, who gets to demonstrate his comedic ability. Eventually though, the film develops into a movie that is a lot less interesting and shifts the focus to the wrong place.
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)