Ray Harryhausen's original stop-motion Sinbad classics are a hard act to follow, but Tim Johnson and Patrick Gilmore's update, couched in a gorgeous palette of indigo and dark rose, is a big, beautiful thrill all its own.
The two films bursting out of The English Patient (a chamber piece and a David Lean dune epic) require a juggling of tone, pace and scale that might easily defeat a director more seasoned than Minghella.
Certainly the movie is one of Schrader's most accomplished, and most entertaining, but there's something cold and unforgiving about his vision, delivered with a severity that only a bred-in-the-bone Calvinist could muster.
Improbably, Read My Lips escapes the cynicism of much contemporary neo-noir, if only by a hair, by ending as a love story of delightful crackpot idealism, in which Paul has made a crook and a hussy out of Carla, and she's made a gentleman out of him.
Despite his (Jeremy Irons) showboating turn and Dench's lascivious energy, it's Annette Crosbie, in her quiet way, who gives the most commanding performance, as the sister who sees all too clearly what's coming.
Noyce wants us to feel the joy of the homecoming, but he's honest enough to show, in a coda that tells what happened to the girls after their break for home, how Rabbit Proof Fence finally must be more a tale of courage than of victory.
If nothing else, Memento is a savvy comment on the queasy uncertainties of the postmodern condition, in which history goes no further back than yesterday's news, and knowledge is supplanted by "information" from a tumult of spin-controlled, unreliable narrators.