(Review originally written at 1 May 2007)

This is a movie that tries hard but it doesn't quite takes the cake. The movie tries to put in many different successful thriller elements but the movie is nothing more than a mixture of styles that weakens the movie as a whole- and with a flawed and simple story in it.

The movie is quite short and this is definitely notable in its script. The concept is quite great and it showed some good potential but the story is at all times kept rather simple and short and the movie its story mainly falls from one coincidence into the other, which really doesn't make this the most credible movie to watch. It's just too much of a series of unlikely events, even for thriller standards. Things just don't add up and the weak climax, that is more ridicules and lame than clever or credible, also doesn't help much. The movie its story gets poorly developed, which also makes the movie lack in some good tension or mystery.

Yet the movie is a fairly well known movie in its genre, which seems odd, since it's definitely no text book example of a good thriller, even though all of the formulaic ingredients are present. It probably has to do with the fact that the movie has a good and well known cast. Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan are the main leads of the movie and like always they are great together. They also used to be a real-life couple for years, till Russell Crowe broke up their marriage in 2000. However problem in the movie is that they're just an unlikely couple to team up. It just seems odd to me that a college professor would team up with one of his students, in the final hours of his life, to solve his own murder. But this is probably also the direct result of its poor story development that falls flat in the end and in which nothing quite adds up. On a positive note, Daniel Stern was good in a serious role.

The movie tries to be noir, or at least an homage to film-noir, by using black & white images and certain camera-positioning (strangly only at the beginning and ending of the movie and not the movie entirely.) but also with its 'mysterious' story and characters. After all, the movie is also a remake of a real classic film-noir from 1950, by the same title. The end result however doesn't deserve to touch the genre with a 10 feet pole. It becomes nowhere close of being in the same league. This is due to the poorly developed and just weak story but also because it tries to bring in several '80's movie-making elements, which just doesn't work out. Oh and mixing film-noir style with '80's musical is always a bad idea! It should be a rule; if you pay homage to film-noir, don't ever put 'modern' music under it. Further more also the typical '80's action editing works really lame and makes the action sequences look even cheaper and clumsier than they in fact really were. Also the black & white images don't look right because they don't seem to use proper lighting for it.

One of this typical thrillers that is only watchable once.


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About Frank Veenstra

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