Final Analysis [1992]

Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller
This film, which again pairs Richard Gere and Kim Basinger (who starred in 1986's No Mercy), offers up elements of classic noir: a hapless man becomes intimately involved with a beautiful blonde who may or may not be who or what she appears to be. Dedicated psychiatrist Isaac Barr (Gere) reluctantly, and then more obsessively, becomes involved with Heather Evans (Basinger), the sister of his patient, Diana Baylor (Uma Thurman). Evans is unhappily married to a gangster (appropriately played by a muscular and menacing Eric Roberts in a trademark role). Gere and Basinger make a credible, if dangerous couple, and Thurman delivers a subtle, understated performance and demonstrates her range and potential. The thriller is appropriately shot in gorgeous San Francisco, where the literal and figurative curving and hilly roads wind throughout. Credit legendary art director Dean Tavoularis for some amazing sets and scenes, notably the elegantly cavernous restaurant where Evans and her husband have a fateful dinner. This film is, in a way, glossy director Phil Joanou's Hitchcockian tribute--as a climactic lighthouse scene best demonstrates. Final Analysis doesn't offer an intimate look at its characters, but a beautifully stylized one, moody and gloomy. The intricate plot experiments with the device of "pathological intoxication," in which the subject completely loses control after drinking alcohol. And this doesn't mean a conventional ugly drunk; it means a frightening psychotic. Good and evil, hope and despair, beauty and repulsion are often juxtaposed in the film's complex world. --N.F. Mendoza

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