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Max (Wesley Snipes) is a 35 year old Los Angeles based commercial director, happily married with two kids. In New York for a job, Max visits Charlie (Robert Downey Jr.), an old friend he hasn't seen since their friendship broke up some five years earlier. Charlie is a gay performance artist and is HIV positive, and Max feels they should make amends. Innocently enough, Max meets Karen (Nastassja Kinski) when his plane is delayed for the flight home. After an attempted mugging, Karen needs comforting, and Max is on hand. The innocent relationship soon turns erotic – but ostensibly for both, it is still a simple one night stand. Max returns home the next day, but his guilt and thoughts of Karen begin to strain him and his marriage to Mimi (Ming-Na Wen). Another year passes and Max returns to see Charlie die of AIDS, and there he meets Charlie's older brother Vernon (Kyle Maclachlan), who turns out to be married to Karen. The one night stand suddenly takes on greater significance.

"One Night Stand is engaging, engrossing and filled with a million magic moments of terrific cinema and much honesty. Figgis displays his finesse in the subtle development of the Max/Karen relationship, so innocent to begin with, yet tragic in its inevitability. The Max/Mimi marriage is also portrayed with astute observation, and all the performances are striking, beginning with the arresting – semi improvised - opening monologue (which shouldn’t be spoilt for you by disclosure). Snipes is at his complex best, Kinski seems to revel in the demands of her shadowy character, and Downey does some of his best work as the dying friend. The story more or less relies for its arc on one crucial coincidence, but as Geraldine Pascall Award-winning film critic Sandra Hall once said, ‘every good film is allowed one coincidence’. The criticism that the film is ‘compromised by a far too tidy resolution’ (see Emanuel below) ignores the fact that Max’s life would not seem so strangely empty and strained if it had only been a mere one night stand. In fact the whole essence of the script rests on the fact that Max would not normally look for a one night stand; that’s why the ending, which is not really that tidy at all, is so effective – it rings true to the emotional war that Max has been going through. Figgis, who does a cameo as a hotel clerk, stamps his own jazz compositions all over the film, including some riffs that sound like a tribute to Miles Davis’ echo-enhanced muted trumpet in the legendary Lift to the Scaffold (by Louis Malle, 1958). Then there is the Charlie/Max story, a story device to be sure, but written so well, with such freshness. (Black, white and yellow humans all interacting without any reference to their race…) It is quite a joy to see what is intended as a mainstream film essaying such rich, character-infested territory. It’s like barbiturates for the cinephile."
Andrew L. Urban

"It's easy to understand why many critics were somewhat dismissive of this latest film from Britain's Mike Figgis, who had much to live up to following his acclaimed Leaving Las Vegas. True, One Night Stand is somewhat pretentious, and it does slip and slide about at times, but as a portrait of infidelity and contemporary relationships, it's an intelligent and eloquent film, deeply human and painfully honest. Snipes gives a strong performance as the unfaithful husband, though it's the beautiful Ming-Na Wen who lights up the screen as his wife. This is a film about characters coping with the problems of commitment. There's plenty of talking here and a genuine sense of character, enhanced by Mike Figgis' own evocative music. A skillfully made and intoxicating human drama, this film is the kind one rarely gets from mainstream Hollywood. It has a haunting quality, yet it's by no means depressing. One Night Stand is a richly layered human drama well worth a visit."
Paul Fischer

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CAST: Wesley Snipes, Nastassja Kinski, Ming-Na Wen, Robert Downey Jr, Kyle MacLachlan, Glenn Plummer, Amanda Donohoe, Thomas Hayden Church, Julian Sands

DIRECTOR: Mike Figgis

PRODUCER: Mike Figgis, Annie Stewart, Ben Myron

SCRIPT: Mike Figgis


EDITOR: John Smith

MUSIC: Mike Figgis

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Waldemar Kalinowski

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes




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