This is a pretty good thriller and also a quite original one, for normal '90's standards but yet the movie never manages to become a truly great, tense or exciting one.

The story is what's making the movie good but at the same time it's also the thing that is keeping this movie down. It could had turned into an interesting movie, that dealt with the issues of moral and medical ethics but the movie never really does so. It makes clear, pretty much from the start on already, who the good- and the bad guys are. And the good guys are extremely good, while the bad guys are totally evil and immoral. It's making this a very black and white and standardized thriller, that progresses in a mostly predictable manner, while still managing to throw in some good moments as well.

But really, when watching this movie you just can't help but think how great it potentially could had been. It seems that all of the right ingredients were there but the film-makers just didn't really had a good idea how to handle them, so they went for a more safe and straight-forward approach. This really feels like a studio thriller, made to cash in on the stars that are all in it.

But don't be fooled. Even though Gene Hackman is highly billed, he actually is hardly in the movie at all. Just a couple of scenes at the start of the movie and after that it takes a long while for him to appear again. He's only prominently present during the final minutes of the movie, as if he signed a contract that ensured he only had to appear in no more than 5 sequences with Hugh Grant. During those scenes he of course still outclasses Hugh Grant and makes you want to see more of him in his role.

And while it was an overall good genre movie to watch, it still managed to annoy me with a couple of things. It's mostly nitpicking sort of stuff but still, it bugged me. For instance that the fact that the homeless people in this movie, who play an important role, never ever remotely look like an homeless person. All have perfect teeth and they and their clothes look far too clean. It's stuff like this that takes you out of a movie.

It's also a movie that in the end is leaving more question than answers, especially when you start thinking back about it. It's actually a very unlikely movie, with a very unlikely story and main premise, that gets only made half believable while watching this movie. But just like everything else, it doesn't really push through and plays things far too standard and safe. A shame, since there was far more potential for this movie really.

Definitely watchable but it just never becomes great in any way.


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About Frank Veenstra

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