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A psychiatrist (Gere) has an affair with his patient's sister (Basinger) who is married to a Greek mobster (Roberts). The mobster is a tyrant over his wife. The psychiatrist wants her to get a divorce, but she is afraid of what her husband would do. She has a medical condition that becomes apparent when she drinks. One night she drinks anyway and attacks her husband. The psychiatrist uses his professional pull to try and help her out of the consequences of her actions, but becomes uncertain if she is telling him the truth. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
The medical name of the illness that Heather Evans (Kim Basinger) was said to have in the film was "pathological intoxication" which is a true real-life medical disorder that can exist. Also known as "pathological alcohol intoxication", according to M.H. Hollender in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the condition "appears as a diagnostic term in DSM-II and DSM-III, is defined in a psychiatric dictionary and is described in several textbooks". See more »
Throughout the climax of the film, Heather is wearing gloves, but right after Huggins' car crashes, her right hand is bare in a point-of-view shot. See more »
[on psychiatrist's couch]
I had the dream again. I'm arranging flowers, on a table, for a center piece. I decorate the flower pot with fancy paper. Feels like velvet. There are three different kinds of flowers. There are lilies, and there are... by the way, did you reach my sister?
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Six years after "No Mercy" (1986), Richard Gere and Kim Basinger teamed up again in the neo-noir "Final Analysis" (1992). In common, they have twisted and/or flawed characters who are morally dubious. However, this neo-noir differs from "No Mercy" by relying much more on plot complexity, the femme fatale, double crosses, love triangles, and psychological issues. It has much less dark photography. "Final Analysis" draws from the Hitchcock lode too, both in music and large-scale climactic scene. Where "No Mercy" has a more or less standard closing sequence, "Final Analysis" doesn't stop until it has exhausted every possible plot twist, no matter how difficult to explain.
Richard Gere abandons psychiatric ethics, knowingly, when Kim Basinger shows up, she being the sister of his patient, Uma Thurman. Basinger's attractiveness and vulnerability make this completely understandable, but so also does Gere's success and comfort in his position. It doesn't faze him that a gangster, Eric Roberts, is her husband. He takes this as a challenge he can meet. The results of his attachment go far beyond what he expects.
I am glad I watched this with subtitles. There are quite a few whispered lines, especially from Basinger, that otherwise would have been unintelligible to me and perhaps some others.
The aspects of the film that were derivative of Hitchcock hurt its overall impact, although perhaps not its entertainment value. If the direction had kept to the neo-noir tone throughout, rather than going into a bombastic thriller mode, it would have made a more effective and stronger whole, in my opinion, one that would have outlasted its day. The thriller mode tended to make the film more superficial. Hitchcock in his films overcame superficiality by having more detailed, focused, insightful and talkative scripts. The script here glides around too many plot points to be really strong.
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