DVD Review: It’s like Sliding Doors, only political and made by the director of Three Colors

When the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle Sliding Doors was released back in 1998, many film buffs (including yours truly) dismissed it, sight unseen, as a cheesy American riff on Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Blind Chance, completed in 1981 but censored and withheld by Polish authorities until 1987. Both films feature the same basic gimmick: Somebody rushes to catch a train, and alternate universes reveal the wildly disparate paths his/her life takes depending on whether (s)he manages to get on board. Though Blind Chance is primarily interested in the political, whereas Sliding Doors opts squarely for the personal. At its core, however, Kieslowski’s film, which is being released this week as part of the Criterion collection, is arguably as facile as its comparatively lightweight American counterpart. How one feels about it will largely depend on the degree to which one accepts its thesis, which is that people are infinitely malleable …

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