Center of the world, The (2001)

Kodoku na otoko ga utsukushii stripper ni koi wo shita [Japan]

Original Title : Center of the World, The
Director : Wayne Wang
Writer : Wayne Wang
Miranda July
Paul Auster
Siri Hustvedt
Ellen Benjamin Wong
Genre : Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Ira Deutchman , Francey Grace , Greg Johnson (II) , Heidi Levitt , Andrew Loo (II) , Peter Newman (I) , Wayne Wang
Photography : Mauro Fiore
Distributor : Artisan Entertainment [us]
IMDB ID : 0240402
Official site :
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poster for "Center of the world, The" by Wayne Wang (2001)
Center of the world, The (2001) - Wayne Wang


Peter Sarsgaard Richard Longman
Molly Parker I
Mel Gorham Roxanne
Jason McCabe Calacanis
Carla Gugino Jerri
Balthazar Getty Brian Pivano
Pat Morita Taxi Driver
Pat Morita Taxi Driver


A couple checks into a suite in Las Vegas. In flashbacks we see that he's a computer whiz on the verge of becoming a millionaire, she's a lap dancer at a club. He's depressed, withdrawing from work, missing meetings with investors. He wants a connection, so he offers her $10,000 to spend three nights with him in Vegas, and she accepts with conditions: four hours per night of erotic play, and no penetration. During the days in Vegas, they get to know each other, have fun, meet a friend of hers, at night, at least after the first night, things seem to get complicated. Is mutual attraction stirring? Will they play by their rules? Can it be about more than money?


I passed on this film while in the theaters due to bad reviews and a highly misleading ad campaign. I disagree with both. This is an accomplished psychological piece a-la-Bergman that never betrays its characters by providing an easy way out. The film follows a rigorous script that dwells deeply into the wants and flaws of the two leads and ultimately tells us that we are limited by our own minds as to the possibilities that life might offer. Although Florence and Richard in theory could change the terms of their relationship, their inner feelings and biases restrict them to what is possible within their own way of thinking. The sex is central to the conflict in an intellectual plane, which will severely disappoint those who are searching for sexual highlights. In terms of DV technique, this is perhaps the best shot film after the DV classic "The Celebration." If you are looking for an engrossing film where every detail serves its main theme, this is it. There is no fat here. It deserves to be watched over and over to absorb its depth under simple dialogue, understated performances by two extraordinary actors and a minimalist plot.
poster for "Center of the world, The"
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Center of the world, The (2001) - Wayne Wang
poster for "Center of the world, The"
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Center of the world, The (2001) - Wayne Wang
poster for "Center of the world, The"
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Center of the world, The (2001) - Wayne Wang