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A yuppie couple buy a large house in an exclusive San Fransisco neighborhood. They renovate it and plan to rent two apartments on the first floor to cover the costs. A prosperous looking man moves in but is not the ideal tenant. He never pays any rent, drives the other tenants away and systematically ruins the lives of his landlords. Written by
Jim Sadur <email@example.com>
Film critic Janet Maslin in 'The New York Times' wrote that this film was "perhaps the first eviction thriller". See more »
When Patty is looking for the cat in the basement, the pigeon flies out of the window and the long haired cat appears. In the close up shot of the cat shrieking, it is a short haired cat. In the shot of the cat exiting through the window, it has changed back to a long haired cat. See more »
Melanie Griffith and Matthew Modine play an unmarried yuppie couple who sink everything they have into a Victorian home in San Francisco. Luckily for them, the place has two apartment units downstairs so they figure the rent from them will more than pay for the place. Unfortunately their first tenant in the studio apartment is every landlord's nightmare rolled into one twisted man. Michael Keaton, who made his way by usually being likable, plays the demented Carter Hayes who apparently does this kind of thing for a living. He moves into a place and drives the owner crazy, causing the owner to retaliate with either violence or an infringement of his rights as a tenant. Then, Hayes sues for damages and possibly even wins the property in civil court! Knowing that these yuppies are new at renting, he eagerly moves in and starts making their lives a living hell. He destroys the interior with loud power tools at all hours, he releases roaches into the neighboring apartment, and has a creepy jerk living with him for whatever reason you could imagine.
Things between Keaton and the yuppies go south right away, so the balance of the film deals with them trying to evict him. But since he knows the law much better than they do, everything they try gets them more broke and more in trouble with the authorities. By the time he finally leaves, Keaton has destroyed his apartment, stolen Modine's identity, and lawfully shot Modine who has a restraining order prohibiting him from entering his own property! With Modine laid up nursing his injuries, it is up to Griffith to catch Keaton in his next scheme and turn the tables on him. She does so in a convincing and clever way. But of course things won't be completely settled until one or more of these folks are deceased. Tune in to find out who.
Though at times jumping the rails of credulity, Pacific Heights pretty much delivers. You feel terrible for the young couple and the other neighbors who would seem to have an easier time removing a tumor than Keaton's character. The city of San Francisco is well-filmed, and Schlesinger goes the extra mile in many scenes setting up complex shots that lesser directors wouldn't bother with. The acting is generally convincing. Especially Keaton. He really makes his lecherous Hayes character both dangerous and mysterious. We want to see more of him. We want to know more about his past. Modine struggles in the scenes where he has to show genuine rage. He is just better as a "nice guy". The supporting cast is made up of several familiar faces. Beverly D'Angelo has an uncredited edgy cameo. The film hasn't dated too badly, but I doubt $750,000 could buy anything resembling that house in San Francisco today. Just by the end of the film the asking price was already something like $900,000! Talk about your housing bubble! 7 of 10 stars.
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