CONTAINS A FEW SPOILERS. While "Two Deaths" (1995) showed a few flashes of the directorial brilliance that seemed to come so easily to Nicholas Roeg between the early seventies and the mid-eighties, I would argue that "Insignificance" was his last great film. Roeg was not a writer, but he managed to put his unique stamp on nearly every film he directed between his mesmerizing solo directing debut, "Walkabout" (he was co-director on "Performance" prior to that), and this allegorical gem, "Insignificance." This film followed by two years Roeg's underrated "Eureka," a film which baffled the suits at MGM/UA, and was not released until a couple years after it was completed. "Insignificance," with a script adapted by Terry Johnson from his stage play, was a more low budget film than "Eureka," and, to paraphrase another interesting director, Whit Stillman, when a lot of dollars are involved your movie is more likely to get sabotaged by "jerks." I can't decide myself if Theresa Russell's portrayal of "the actress" in this film is the high water mark of her career, or if that came in 1981 in "Bad Timing: a Sensual Obsession," her first collaboration with Roeg, whose wife she had become by the time "Insignificance" was shot. I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Russell in 1981, during her promotional tour for "Bad Timing," and she told me at the time she considered her work opposite Dustin Hoffman in "Straight Time" the acting she was most proud of to that point in her career. But to "Insignificance" itself, this is a movie I find fascinating, but which I'm sure some would find utterly pretentious. What saves it from that charge is the humor that runs through this film, despite the seriousness of the subject matter: the unleashing of atomic weapons, communist witch-hunts, and, while it may see of lesser importance, the nature and burdens of celebrity and having to live up to some manufactured image of oneself. The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent. It is appropriate that Tony Curtis, at least lately a decidedly right wing, anti-gay activist who campaigned against "Brokeback Mountain getting Best Picture, is cast as "the senator," who is obviously meant to be Joe McCarthy. Curtis, a fine actor, brings some of the smarmy charm of his character from "Sweet Smell of Success" to this film as well, albeit a charm filtered through an alcoholic haze. Gary Busey is perfect as the famous former baseball player, who realizes his glory days are gone, and that he will forever live in the shadow of his wife's greater fame. And Michael Emil, so good in a number of his brother, Henry Jaglom's quirky low budget films ("Sitting Ducks," "Always") is fine as "the professor," who has come urge the US government to not use his great discovery for additional destructive purposes, but to use it to promote peace--a position for which the senator has no sympathy. The scene in which Russel, as the actress, demonstrates her understanding of the professor's theory of relativity using a toy train set is not to be missed. Roeg never made a film this interesting again. After a few attempts at films of substance, such as the failed "Track 29," derailed by a weak script, Roeg signed on to direct more mainstream fare. Some like "The Witches" were at least competent and entertaining films. Others, like the TV mini series "Samson and Delilah," seem beneath him. In the end, Roeg was the victim of the passing of the time of the powerful director in commercial film making. Some of the strong (and/or commercially successful) still survive, but many, like Roeg, have had to abandon the adventurous path of their earlier films in order to maintain a viable, or semi-viable career.