By Owen Gleiberman
Updated March 02, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

The title makes it sound as innocent as a PBS children’s special, but Signs & Wonders, Jonathan Nossiter’s second feature (after the intricate and haunting Sunday), strikes unnerving chords of mystery and dismay as it fuses the sinister, jump-cut dislocations of a metaphysical thriller like Don’t Look Now with a pain-soaked meditation on love, guilt, marriage, and adultery. Stellan Skarsgard, in a performance that seems to extend the middle-aged crack-up of his character in Time Code, is the expatriate businessman who betrays his wife (Charlotte Rampling), through a compound series of lies, with his younger lover (Deborah Kara Unger) and then tries to manipulate his way back into the bosom of his family. Nossiter, filming in Athens and its spectacular surrounding vistas, gets more trippy portentous atmosphere out of digital video than most directors do out of film, yet he weaves such a top-heavy latticework of ”signs” and omens that the film’s fragile love rectangle is all but overwhelmed by the filmmaker’s dissection of it. That said, his somberly dazzling technique, put to the right use, could make him a Hitchcock of intimate dysfunction.

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