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This remake of the 1946 movie of the same name accounts an affair between a seedy drifter and a seductive wife of a roadside café owner. This begins a chain of events that culminates in murder. Written by
Craig Clarke <email@example.com>
Considering the talent in front of and behind the camera, there's really no way to look at this adaptation of the James M. Cain novel as anything but a disappointment. In the film, Jack Nicholson plays drifter Frank Chambers who enters the lives of Cora (Jessica Lange) and her much older husband Nick (John Colicos). Soon the drifter and Cora start up a sexual relationship, which leads to them planning the murder of the husband. This here would be the fourth version of the classic story and the second one filmed in America. Unlike the previous versions, director Bob Rafelson didn't have to worry about censors but even so this version isn't nearly as hot as the earlier one with Lana Turner. Outside a rather intense sex scene towards the start of the picture, this thing really never takes off, which is too bad because they've got a terrific cast and some beautiful settings but in the end the film is just flat. I think the first forty- five minutes are the best thing in the film as we see the love triangle set up and there's no question that the director has the look of the era down perfectly. I thought the setting really added a lot of atmosphere but sadly very little else happens. Nicholson was the perfect choice to play a drifter but the screenplay really doesn't give him too much to work with. Lange is clearly the best thing in the movie as she delivers a sexual charge to the thing. Colicos is also extremely good as the husband in a strong supporting performance. What really hurts the film is the second half because the director never really makes us believe or feel anything for the two leads. Are we supposed to hate them for what they've done? Are we supposed to be rooting for them to get away with the murder and live happily ever after? The entire second half of the film features way too many dialogue scenes that lead no where and in the end the "romance" that starts to bloom towards the end just never fully works. The film isn't nearly as bad as its reputation but at the same time there's no question that it's a major disappointment and a bitter feeling takes over when you think about what could have been.
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