With a foreigner's revitalizing influence, German director Volker Schlondorff turns this standard potboiler (based on the novel Just Another Sucker by British pulp writer James Hadley Chase) into a beguiling exercise in genre classicism. Woody Harrelson stars as a former journalist, just released from serving two years on a trumped-up charge, who is drawn into a troublesome mock-extortion scheme by the scheming wife (Elisabeth Shue) of a dying Florida millionaire. The movie's got style to spare and plenty of humid Florida atmosphere, but it's built on a series of improbable developments and is too low-key to generate riveting momentum. But Schlondorff occupies this tawdry territory with a keen sense of necessary mood and pace, maintaining adequate internal logic and awareness of the story's vintage roots. Subplots involving Shue's stepdaughter (Chloë Sevigny) and Harrelson's girlfriend (Gina Gershon) provide enjoyable distractions from the story's implausibilities. The movie's better suited to the fertile pulp mills of cable TV. But with an absurdly twisting plot to hold your interest, it's fun to watch how Schlondorff builds a bridge between traditional film noir and a more contemporary approach to sultry intrigue. --Jeff Shannon
Director(s): Volker SchlÃ¶ndorff
Production: Warner Home Video
- R (Restricted)
- 796 Views
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