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Good Judd Hirsch v. Evil Judd Hirsch in a first-rate suspenser
This is an interesting idea: "Goodfellas" meets "Mark of Cain", with the talented star of "Taxi" handling the dual role position nicely. He steers clear of overacting the role of Harry, the demented twin with a twisted obsession with money and the stock market. The best scenes of the film are the ones where we're initially not sure whether we're seeing the affable Ben or the menacing Harry, and this is where the suspense lies. The eeriest scene is the first murder on the highway; it relies on atmosphere and the simple strength of the brief interlude between the Mafia daughter and her boyfriend to give us a glimpse of character, to give us a chance to see who was murdered in this way and what the very last moments of her life were like.
There are also some other unexpectedly excellent performances here, particularly from Karen Carlson as Ben's understanding wife and definetly George Dzundza as the police chief who's determined that Ben rather than Harry is guilty of these crimes; he sure has a way of firing slimy employees!
The ear-touching signal used by Ben and his family is my favorite plot device used in this film, and the concept isn't played to death either. I admire the film's subtlety in its treatment of recurring plot elements and I also really enjoyed Gentle Ben's turning-of-the-tables on Harry; look for scream queen Lori Lethin in this brief sequence as Harry's prisoner/girlfriend, who it's always good to see. Shame she hasn't appeared in more films.
I did find it a bit strange how the film just totally abandoned the Mafia subplot so abruptly, it actually seems like the script forgets about it completely at the end, but the end has just enough suspense to make us not notice until it's over. All in all a pretty solid thriller, especially for a made-for-TV movie.
My rating: 7.5/10
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