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A big-city cop from L.A. moves to a small-town police force and immediately finds himself investigating a murder. Using theories rejected by his colleagues, the cop, John Berlin, meets a young blind woman named Helena, who he is attracted to. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose and only John knows it. Written by
Jennifer 8 is written and directed by Bruce Robinson. It stars Andy Garcia, Uma Thurman, John Malkovich, Lance Henriksen, Kathy Baker and Graham Beckel. Music is by Christopher Young and cinematography by Conrad Hall.
The small town of Eureka and John Berlin (Garcia) is the new cop in the precinct. When a severed hand is found at the local dump it leads Berlin to believe a serial killer is at work. One who has a penchant for blind girls.
The problems quickly mounted up for Jennifer 8, it flopped big in America and went straight to home format release in the UK. Problems back stage got so bad that Bruce Robinson quit Hollywood and never made another film for 19 years! In spite of these facts, it's not the monstrosity it was originally painted as back on its "limited" release.
It's a frustrating film in many ways because it promises so much. There's bags of moody atmospherics wrung out by Conrad Hall's superb photography, where he filters most things via minimal lighting. Much of the play unfolds in ominous surroundings, where dialogue exchanges are either hushed or laced with harried fervour, and the writing is actually quite smart as it blends psycho thriller staples with strong characterisations that are in turn boosted by committed acting performances. Yet these things can't compensate for the too long run time, a rushed ending and some awkward tonal shifts that often take you out of the required mood. The rushed ending is particularly galling, after asking the audience to stay with the pic for two hours, it's not unreasonable to expect a good long and dramatic finale, sadly that's not the case.
Fans of neo-noir type visuals have some interest here, as does anyone who likes the type of serial killer movies that dominated the late 80s and early 90s before Fincher's Seven raised the bar. 6/10
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