Reviewer's grade: F
John Malkovich sacrifices good working time to the art-film gods in this "biopic," which portrays Gustav Klimt as a moody, syphilitic, turn-of-the century painter determined to seduce every crazy skank in Vienna. Instead of adopting the usual strategy of depicting historical figures and events in a linear narrative fashion, writer/director Raoul Ruiz has chosen to create a sort of part-fact/part-fiction pastiche made of equal parts jibber-jabber, hoo-ha and poppycock.
Ruiz's recreation of art-nouveau Vienna is at least pretty, with lavish costumes and sets, often showcasing Klimt's permanently nude young models and his permanently nude young lovers (they're often both). Unfortunately, as nice as everything looks, there's no story to follow, and "Klimt" is tedious and pretentious from beginning to end.
Co-starring Saffron Burrows (TV's "Boston Legal") as Klimt's mostly absent muse and Nikolai Kinski (son of Klaus) as Klimt's sometimes-pal Egon Schiele, "Klimt" comes off as the worst sort of self-indulgent crap masquerading as "art." NR