|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This busy crime movie is a pleasant surprise through most of its
running time, but it suffers from some weaknesses in the
characterizations, some loose ends, and a let-down ending. The next
five paragraphs summarize the complicated story so that I may discuss
it, but they withhold some key details to avoid spoiling the mystery.
Gregory Harrison plays a state's attorney with a Harvard business degree, the son of an influential but now-dead politician. Harrison is the favorite to replace a corporation's disgraced, insider stock trading CEO. He is opposed by an unctuous, ambitious company man who over the years has risen to the management ranks from the mail room and wants the top job for himself. Jose Ferrer is power-broker board member Killian, who may at one time have been Harrison's mentor. The company is eager to fix its image problem because it is trying to convince the rich head of another company, Mel Ferrer as Orlov, to agree to a merger. Orlov's young, third wife is played by Cybill Shepherd. She romanced Harrison ten years before but says she moved on because his career seemed more important to him that she did. Harrison's flippant, go-along-to-get-along underling and likely successor is Michael Gwynne, who at least advances the plot as a sounding board for Harrison.
Orlov, alone at home one night, is killed in an apparent burglary. Although Shepherd is a possible suspect, Harrison gingerly rekindles his relationship with her. A fence fingers a two-time loser "second story man" as claiming to have jewels from the Orlov heist, and the man is arrested on flimsy circumstantial evidence and railroaded toward indictment by the lazy Gwynne. Harrison, still his boss, feels the case is weak and wants to keep digging. Meanwhile, he takes a romantic tropical weekend vacation with Shepherd. It is interrupted when they recognize a man following them who has been hanging around back home as well. She thinks he is a private detective hired by her step-daughter, Adrienne Barbeau. Barbeau goes off the deep end about Orlov's estate going to Shepherd and claims Orlov confided that Shepherd had an affair with one of his business partners and that before he died he was writing a new will that would cut her out of any inheritance.
Harrison suggests that he and Shepherd keep their distance for a while, and continues investigating. He receives an envelope with photos of himself and Shepherd at the beach, which he shares with a blasé Killian, who says he also received copies but does not care as long as Harrison's indiscretion stays quiet. A stripper turns up who says she has been out of town but can give the second story man an alibi, and Harrison interviews Barbeau and finds her believable.
Harrison confronts Shepherd at an abandoned meat packing plant that is to be the site of a new office of the Orlov company. She now admits that a "heavy-set man" who said her husband "owed him some money" phoned her two days after the murder and threatened to harm her and others if she did not pay him $25,000. Speak of the devil, as they are leaving to report this to the police, they hear someone bearing down on them and try to hide. The thug finds them and is beating up Harrison, so Shepherd grabs a gun out of the thug's pocket and shoots him dead.
When the story hits the news, Killian disowns Harrison as a candidate for CEO. Later, Harrison is puzzled by a second, small-caliber gun that was found in the thug's pocket and by a check of his associates, which turns up a familiar face and a tie to Orlov. Falling into another ambush, Harrison out-runs a hale of bullets, until a convenient explosion wipes out the gunman, the first thug's partner. In a final scene, Harrison confronts the main criminal with hidden evidence of motive that he has found.
Overall, the movie handles the murder case and the business subplot with some intelligence and makes them interesting. But the two story lines are not always closely and meaningfully enough connected, and the movie can at times feel cluttered and overcomplicated, without a worthwhile payoff. There are loose ends. The movie never makes clear who shot and circulated the supposedly scandalous photos and why. Harrison's background and his relationship with Killian are glossed over. His bustling mother and Orlov's second wife and son make pointless, one-line appearances. The movie never bothers to explain how Gwynne could have risen to be Harrison's heir apparent when all he seems to have to offer is a wise-guy sneer and stupid, incompetent habit of jumping at the easiest, most obvious theory.
Although Harrison has some good lines and takes his big-shot role seriously, he does not seem to quite have the stature for the part. Shepherd comes across more as an energetic personality doing individual scenes than as a character. The movie never gives a glimpse into who she really is and ends on a weak note. The Ferrers and Barbeau are effective in their smaller parts.
Harrison's character is just thoughtful and restrained enough in how he handles the case and his relationship with Shepherd to avoid throwing credibility to the winds. But his clipped, controlled performance takes a toll on the movie in other ways. No real groundwork is laid for the relationship, it never comes alive with any convincing chemistry or passion, and it feels like a mere plot device. This makes events at the end of the movie, in particular, ring hollow.
The cast, characters, writing, and settings are good enough and there is enough credibly going on to hold my interest until the end. Unfortunately, there are some nagging problems, the ending descends into melodramatic action and unconvincing sentimentality, and the murder mystery turns out to be overly simplistic. In the end, despite the flaws, I think the movie is substantial enough to be worth seeing.
I chuckled when I saw the shot of the CN Tower. While obviously filmed
in Toronto (to anyone who knows Toronto that's obvious even without the
CN Tower shot) the whole movie is set in an American city. Riordan
(Gregory Harrison) is a "state's attorney." Now, if there is such a
thing as an iconic image of Toronto, it's surely the CN Tower, which
means the shot establishes that - whatever US city is supposed to be
being portrayed - this is Canada. It doesn't bother me that Toronto's
standing in for a U.S. city, but why make it so painfully obvious?
Now, if that were the only problem with this movie I suppose it wouldn't matter too much - but it's not the only problem. It's an obviously made- for-TV soap opera type movie with a soap opera type cast (with the exception of, perhaps, Cybill Shepherd.) When two of your other big names, though, are Gregory Harrison and Adrienne Barbeau - well, that says something! Riordan is that state's attorney, who's just accepted the position as head of some major corporation that's in some type of trouble. The guy he replaces ends up murdered, and Riordan almost immediately resparks an old flame with the old guy's young wife (Shepherd.) The issue is who did the killing and why. There's a lot of potential suspects, and there's enough uncertainty about who did it to keep you watching, but it still isn't very good to be honest. There's a lot of smoke-filled rooms and shady, suspicious characters but it's not exactly gripping drama or suspense. If you're into made-for-TV soap operas, go for it. 3/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS Cybill Shephard stars as Vicky, a woman married to a rich old man, who has one foot in the grave. Gregory Harrison plays Mike Riordon a district attorney, who is young, handsome and living at home with his Irish mom for the most. Vicky's husband Arthur gets Mike involved in a merger of two companies...or something like that even though he knows that Mike and Vicky were a couple and that she had dumped him. Whilst Mike and Vicky are attending a party, Arthur is alone at home when a burglar appears out of nowhere and shoots him point blank. Upset Vicky turns to Mike and at the same time a man appears to be following them. Vicky inherits everything from Arthur, which leaves Arthur's 2 kids very angry because they know that their father had changed his will, but he hadn't been able to give it to his lawyer yet there is no sign of the new will so therefore Vicky gets everything and then gets Mike as well. They take off together for a while, but after again realizing that they are being followed they go their separate ways until Mike starts to find clues on who had Arthur murdered. He confronts Vicky, who tells him that she had no part of it and he believes her, but then he sets himself up for his own death. This movie was WAY too confusing. Gregory Harrison seems to be wearing too much eye-liner in this movie because his eyes are black for most of the film and the whole plot of the movie was quite silly because it takes about 15-20 minutes to figure out who the killer was and Mike Riordon is supposed to be a D.A, but he is just plain gullible just because everything Vicky says are lies yet he believes them because he is way too hung up on her and she takes advantage of it all and why she constantly talks like she is in a courtroom is beyond me. A very strange movie.
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