Tilda Swinton is in high-drama mode in this complex kidnapping story that plays tone-deaf on many levels.
Tilda Swinton is a powerhouse actress who needs a director equipped to handle her power – i.e., someone with an ability not only to handle her highs but also to tone her down. In "Julia," the French director Erick Zonca lets Swinton swagger and sashay until she turns into a great big Actors Studio cartoon. Maybe it's because English is not Zonca's first language, but Swinton's performance, and practically everything else about "Julia," seems off – tone-deaf. She plays an out-of-control wastrel who enters into a kidnapping scheme gone horribly wrong, as does the movie. This is Zonca's second feature. His first, "The Dreamlife of Angels," was extraordinary. Rent that one instead. Grade: C- (Rated R for pervasive language, some violent content, and brief nudity.)