|Index||5 reviews in total|
This thriller benefits from strong direction by Robert Bierman and a top music score by Maurice Jarre. It's rare to find a score attached to this genre that isn't exploitative or overdone, and Jarre is an unusual choice which pays off, though adding lyrics to his theme and having it sung over the credits is a definite mistake. Apology is the name of conceptual artist Lesley Ann Warren's latest project, a phone service she has created to complement her latest "piece". It's basically an answering machine which you can project your guilt onto, but considering this is New York, it's not long before apology means confession and absolution to a nutter, and LAW becomes a woman in peril. Thank goodness she meets Peter Weller as a cop. Weller is such a steadfast presence that it's hard to believe him being psychoneurotic, which he is initially accused of. Warren is more the psychoneurotic type, but then she's an artist. You can guess that writer Mark Medoff doesn't miss any cliches with her conceptual artist role - she is styled badly, has lost custody of her child, and has an attitude. LAW has never been a strong performer. Perhaps only someone like Alan Rudolph in the way he presented her in Choose Me, knows how to overcome her flakiness. Here she is lit unflatteringly, her character is charmless (even given her predicament), and she seems to climax as soon as Weller touches her. Even her Apology project is lousy, where she plans to play the taped confessions, while her audience is trapped in a contraption the size of a train carriage. It doesn't occur to her that she hasn't told the apologisers how their confessions will be used, but then that's her life lesson. Medoff also throws in a sub plot about a serial gay killer (known affectionately in the force as the "schlong biter"), then quickly abandons it. While some late slo-mo sequences are a bit too cute, Bierman builds the chase with cross-cutting, but doesn't really give us a satisfactory conclusion. John Glover and Harvey Fierstein appear to little effect, and Chris Noth can be seen in an early small role.
This film came out when shows like "Oprah" were just starting. The idea
of someone selling their psyche for attention and/or catharsis. Before
that, we were in the dark ages, when people kept their psychiatric
issues to themselves, would never even think of group therapy or AA,
let alone message boards on the internet. That being said, the plot is
interesting, even if the acting is stylized, and rather artificial.
Lesley Ann-Warren plays a good neurotic- Peter Weller is passable. Harvey Fierstein has an interesting cameo part, as a homeless person. Some of the street shots are creative and interesting. The art project Warren creates is really not unbelievable; If one has ever seen Yoko Ono's exhibits- you will agree!.
The serial killer is portrayed by Jimmie Ray Weeks; he wears a bow-tie and looks like Wallace Shawn (from Woody Allen's movie "Manhattan"). If you want to see something unusual, this movie will fit the bill. John Glover is also in this film, and he always excels at portraying a psychotic New Yorker (he was also in a TV film with Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave- remake of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane"-not to be missed!).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Leslie Anne Warren has a strange sort of beauty, what with her high
cheek bones and thin lips. And her eyes are startling. Their pupils are
dark and the eyes themselves are set back deep into the orbital sockets
so that they always seem to be in shadow. They lend her the air of a
hunted animal, but one that's liable to strike back when cornered.
She's also sexy and neatly enacts the role of a woman in oestrus. She
does so here in a scene with Peter Weller. I wish she'd gotten rid of
this nervous laugh, uttered through a half smile, issuing almost under
her breath as "heh!" Natalie Wood had the same tendency.
I have to envy Peter Weller. Not just because he gets to do a nude scene involving copulation with Warren but because he's managed two careers successfully. By now he's probably completed his PhD in Italian Renaissance Art at UCLA and has been an adjunct professor at Syracuse University. He takes his academic work seriously.
As an actor he's generally laid back in a Kevin-Costner kind of way but capable of nuttier outbursts. He has some amusing lines in this movie, as when he first knocks on Warren's door and identifies himself as a detective. He asks, "Do you mind if I come in?" "Yes, I think I do." "I have a warrant." "Let's see it." "I can GET a warrant." But he lets it all flow out naturally, without emphasis, as if his lie were so trivial as to deserve no more than immediate dismissal.
The first two thirds of the film are interesting, exploring the contrasting worlds of modern art and police routine in New York City -- actually Toronto.
Warren has begun some kind of artistic enterprise involving recorded apologies from anonymous callers. Of course, this was before the virulent outbreak of public confessions from celebrities and ordinary folk on Oprah, Geraldo At Large, and Sally Jesse Raphael, whom I'd always thought was three people. (I'm still not sure.) One of the callers, "Claude", identifies himself as a serial murderer of gay guys, although the homosexual aspect is dropped at once and Claude begins to slaughter somebody every time the script calls for another killing. Well, he slits of a homeless man played by Harvey Fierstein but I don't know if that counts. I'm not going to count the demise of John Glover because he just falls from a roof.
The movie more or less collapses in on itself when Claude begins to stalk Warren. He kidnaps her little girl, or threatens to -- I got a little confused. Anyway Warren sets herself out as bait, Claude appears with a knife in the deserted art gallery, and is beaned by a falling steel structure, burned to death in a long plastic tube, and finally shot by Detective Weller. This is all according to custom. The creep is always harder to kill than Rasputin, the Mad Monk.
Nice performances, especially by Weller, Warren, and Glover, almost make up for the routine plot and unexceptional score by Maurice Jarre, he who wrote the score for "Lawrence of Arabia."
This one has kind of an odd plot but it has enough twists and turns to keep most people entertained for a few hours. It was interesting for me to have gone to college in Pittsburgh at about the same time and seen familiar landmarks used very effectively, especially their public transportation system.
This is one of the first movies I taped off HBO back in 1986. I just
had so much fun with Leslie Ann Warren and Peter Weller and their
repartee. They really did have good chemistry together. In fact, I
enjoyed that part so much, I wish it had been a bigger part of the
The night streets of New York, wet and litter strewn, lends a certain noirish feel to the film. And the music score is very good and evocative.
The story is of an artist who sets up an answering machine to record people who call in to make an 'apology' for something they have done in their lives, and then becomes enmeshed with a madman who kills people but always says he's sorry on her machine.
The ending is a little gruesome, as are each of the murders, but I was caught up in the artist community and the film has been a favorite of mine ever since I first taped it. 8/10
Edited to update and add comments 9/18/08 Jane
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