It’s not about love. It’s not about money. It’s not even about sex, although the transaction of cold, love-starved sexual business propels the daisy-chain encounters that make up Love in the Time of Money. If anything, theater director Peter Mattei’s dingy, mannered, visually ragged resetting of Max Ophuls’ unimprovable 1950 beaut ”La Ronde” (based on an 1896 play by Arthur Schnitzler) is about scenes of cap-A Acting by a roundup of cap-I Indie thespians, captured on brutally flat and blotchy cap-DV Digital Video.
A hooker (Vera Farmiga) has a bad encounter with a contractor (Domenick Lombardozzi), who services a rich, drunk wife (Jill Hennessy), whose husband (Malcolm Gets) makes a pass at a crappy painter (Steve Buscemi), who picks up a gallery receptionist (Rosario Dawson), who fights with her boyfriend (Adrian Grenier), and so the circle goes, all the way back to the original, unenlightened hooker. Individual performances stand out (Buscemi, Carol Kane as a lonely psychic, ”The Sopranos”’ Michael Imperioli as a suicidal financial type) or stagger (Hennessy, Farmiga), weighed down by stagey dialogue; a workshop mentality prevails. The characters who cross paths here in the hard shadows of late-’90s New York City are meant to convey loneliness, bitterness, neediness, loss, and bad karma. Mostly, they convey bad Sundance.