Breathless Forever

I’ll bring the wine, you bring your scarred psyche.

Dr. Chase Meridian, from the late Joel Schumacher’s extravagant blockbuster Batman Forever (1995), will never be mistaken for some of Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman’s finest work. That’s neither here nor there, though, when you’re talking about the deliciously campy performance she delivers as the good doctor. Breathless line readings chock full of pop psychology and goofy innuendo, elegant attire, Veronica Lake style cascading locks, strategically arched eyebrows, exquisitely parted lips, an unhealthy obsession with black rubber—holy Bat-lust, Batman!—these are just a few examples why Chase is one of Kidman’s most delightfully frothy creations.

When I saw this in the theater in 1995, I stared rapturously whenever she appeared onscreen (and so did my girlfriend at the time!), for even then, relatively early in her superstardom, Kidman could command a film like few others. Even in a kooky comic book summer tentpole like this. I recently watched it again, as a tribute to Schumacher, and it’s still an entertaining, neon-saturated confection, with Kidman’s charismatic Chase remaining its most delectable treasure for this viewer.

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