(out of 5)
Steve Guttenberg takes his boss’s wife (Isabelle Huppert) home after a work function and they spend the night together. Late into the evening he goes to the bathroom and she is drawn to the window by the sound of a woman screaming. Huppert witnesses a man trying to rape a young woman (Elizabeth McGovern), but her seeing the event causes the man to run away. When the couple find out later that another young woman was raped and murdered in the same neighbourhood, they decide to go forward with their testimony but Huppert is hesitant: how can she tell the police what she saw without exposing their affair? Guttenberg decides to pretend to be the witness, but telling this well-intentioned lie leads to a whole slew of complications that include meeting McGovern and teaming up with her to catch the bad guy, and discovering that Huppert’s morals are even more complex than your average wealthy adulteress. Director Curtis Hanson puts together an entertaining and almost humorously ripe tribute to old film noirs whose character have much to recommend themselves, while the performances are strong (particularly Huppert in a wonderfully fatale role). Guttenberg is winsome and surprisingly astute as the star of a thriller, but he’s undone by a number of plot twists in the film that are unbelievable to the point of ridiculously contrived. It’s possible the film would have been that much more intense were it a tad bit more credible; as such it serves as an early blueprint for Hanson’s later masterpiece, L.A. Confidential.
Directed by Curtis Hanson
Screenplay by Curtis Hanson, based on the novel by
Production Design by Ron Foreman
Costume Design by Clifford Capone
Film Editing by Scott Conrad