(2000)3Michael HastingsShelved for nearly two years after its premiere at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival, Kathryn Bigelow's adaptation of Anita Shreve's bestseller is indeed everything its detractors said it was: decadent, pretentious, and indulgent -- but in the best possible way. With its languid pace, natural-splendor backdrop, and supermodel cast, The Weight of Water recalls the sumptuous, ennui-laden films of Michelangelo Antonioni -- or, more specifically, the tony knock-offs that populated European cinema for most of the 1970s. What Bigelow manages to do with the material, however, is to drain it of the artificial "significance" that other filmmakers might have assigned it, whether through dumbed-down editing or clearly telegraphed dialogue. As it stands, The Weight of Water's parallel story lines remain just that; they never intersect in an obvious way. Themes of sex, death, and regret pop up in each time period, but the frissons between the troubled, taciturn women of the past and the licentious, self-obsessed characters of the present are never made completely apparent. Rather than feeling inconsequential, however, Weight is, well, weightier for what it doesn't spell out about the radically different sexual politics of the two eras, and about the unique psychological baggage prevalent in both.