The free standing bath plays an important role in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi blockbuster, serving as a device to awaken those from a surreal sub-conscious state of mind.
This resulting impact of this awakening kick is played out in the first part of the film in sensational fashion.
Brad Pitt - Fight Club
(Courtesy of Fox 2000 Pictures/Regency Enterprises/Linson Films/Atman Entertainment/Knickerbocker Films/Taurus Film)
Tyler, Brad Pitt, recuperates in the bath after a spontaneous fight precluding the beginning of the movie’s namesake. He loosely discusses life, philosophy and who the most desired opponent would be in a fight - all of the things some of us could be pondering in the bath.
Ernie - Sesame Street
Really, who loves a bath better than Ernie from Sesame Street? His free standing bath is more than big enough to hang out with his favourite rubber ducky.
(Courtesy of Polygram Filmed Entertainment/Working Title Films)
The Dude from The Big Lebowski didn’t need an extravagant bathtub in his modest LA flat. Jeff Bridges’ character has all the shelving space he needs for candles, shampoo and other relaxation essentials in his standard wall-mounted bath.
Then comes the interrogation by the group of nihilists with a vicious marmot…
The Godfather: Part II - Frankie Pentangeli
(Courtesy of A Paramount Picture/A Coppola Company Production)
A more somber application for a standard bath is demonstrated in The Godfather: Part II. Before veteran Corleone capo Frank Pentageli has a chance to testify in front of a congressional hearing, he meets with consigliere Tom Hagen. He asks Tom for advice on what he can do now, after falling for a trap and informing on the Corleone family for the FBI.
Tom and Frankie discuss how the old Corleone family used to operate more like an army of the Roman Empire and how those plotting against the Empire could save their family from financial ruin, if they failed, by taking their own lives. Frankie’s fate is revealed shortly after.
Natalie Portman - Black Swan
More complexities of Natalie Portman’s character, Nina Sayers, are explored in this scene as she attempts to unwind from the stresses of securing the role of the black swan.
Just as she slips fully into the bath, a couple of blood droplets stir her before being confronted by the hallucination of Lily, played by Mila Kunis. It’s another moment in the film when Nina becomes more self-aware of her mental condition.
Jennifer Connelly - Requiem for a Dream
(Courtesy of Artisan Entertainment/Thousand Words/Sibling/Protozoa/Industry/Bandeira Entertainment/Requiem for a Dream/Truth and Soul Pictures)
In another one of Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller, a bathtub is used to depict the mental frailties and anguish of the drug-addicted Marion Silver, played by Jennifer Connelly.
Interestingly, Aronofsky had to have the filming rights bought from Satoshi Kon’s anime feature, Perfect Blue.
A Nightmare on Elm Street - Heather Langenkamp
(Courtesy of The Elm Street Venture)
It’s an iconic horror film scene, seeing Freddy Krueger’s hand reach for Heather Langenkamp’s character Nancy as she nods off in the bath. After she ignores her mother’s warning that she could drown in a soapy slumber, Freddy pulls her into the depths of his shared twisted fantasy realm.
She narrowly escapes the near-dream-death-experience and is able to struggle out of the bathtub.
Winona Ryder - Ellen von Unwerth portrait
(Courtesy of Ellen von Unwerth)
Proof that a standard bathtub doesn’t have to be associated with murder, torture or mental instability is Ellen von Unwerth’s famous portrait of Winona Ryder.
Or maybe not, if it was a homage to Ryder’s standout performance during her face-off with Whoopi Goldberg in Girl Interrupted.