(Review originally written at 14 August 2006)

Leave it up to movies from the '70's to deliver a movie with a well build up tension and a realistic suspense. This movie is one of those typical well build up thrillers from the '70's, that however in the end still falls sort of flat, due to some improbabilities in the story.

The movie begins slow, perhaps unnecessarily slow, to set up the characters and their relations. It does give the movie a certain sense of realism and at times suspense but it also provides the movie with some unnecessary long sequences that don't really add enough to the movie and its style. It's has '70's written all over it but the movie is not as 'experimental' as other genre movies from the same period. The cinematography by Victor J. Kemper is without any fancy tricks and the musical score by Jerry Goldsmith is (disappointingly) simple. All indications that this movie was made in the late '70's. It still has '70's style but without all the movie technical experimental elements, like genre movies from the more early '70's. It does make this movie more watchable for a wider audience.

Basically from a technical point of view, the thriller elements in this movie are well build up and executed in the movie but unfortunately the story itself is filled with too many loose ends and improbabilities to consider this a perfectly made thriller. Too bad, since the premise itself of the movie is quite good. Especially in the end the movie becomes more and more unlikely. For instance why only just O.R. 8? Wouldn't that just arouse automatically suspicious after a while? And why does Susan Wheeler keep returning to the hospital, were she knows that she has more enemies than friends. All logically flawed plot elements that causes the movie to be a bit unlikely and not always credible as a thriller.

It's nice to see that the main character of the movie is a female. Geneviève Bujold delivers a strong performance in the main lead. I don't know, for some reason the movie also becomes more realistic because of that the main lead is a female. With a male lead movies like these too often and too easy turn into heroic macho movies, which are not halve as credible. The movie also has a very solid supporting cast, with lots of actors that later grew out to be big ones, such as of course Michael Douglas but also Rip Torn, Tom Selleck and Ed Harris, who portray some much smaller roles.

Overall this still is one fine typical '70's thriller. As long as you can see past its flawed script and don't expect too much of a masterpiece, you'll certainly enjoy watching this movie.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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