Playing God [1997]

After his bloody showdown with Brad Pitt's psychopathic redneck in Kalifornia, David Duchovny used an off-season hiatus from The X-Files to star in this 1997 thriller, in which he plays a doctor whose fall from professional grace leads to a dangerous career in the criminal underworld. Having lost his license after drug abuse caused him to lose a patient during surgery, he's recruited into his illegal career by a slimy but charismatic millionaire (Timothy Hutton) whose associates have a way of getting shot all the time. Before long, Duchovny comes to realize the extent of Hutton's evil, and he finds himself caught in a criminal trap that also involves an alluring femme fatale (Angelina Jolie) and a Faustian bargain that could cost him his life. The plot's rather absurd and fairly predictable, but fine performances by Duchovny and especially Hutton (who makes a memorable screen villain) make this stylish thriller intriguingly worthwhile. --Jeff Shannon

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