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There's a good film in here somewhere just aching to get out, but the
filmmakers seem more interested in playing Box Office Wheel of Fortune than
caring about the quality of the product they're trying to sell, and it makes
`Color of Night,' directed by Richard Rush, one of those movies that makes
you shake your head and think, Ah! what could have been if only! And that
single `if' makes all the difference in the world with regards to what
finally winds up on the screen.
When his treatment of a patient fails and ends tragically, leaving him with some pronounced psychological damage of his own, New York psychologist Dr. Bill Capa (Bruce Willis) quits his practice and goes to Los Angeles seeking the solace and, perhaps, the help of an old friend and colleague, Dr. Bob Moore (Scott Bakula). Capa quickly discovers, however, that Moore is having problems of his own, apparently stemming from a weekly group therapy session he has been conducting for some time. Moore, it seems, has recently received some death threats, which he believes are coming from one of the patients of this particular group, though he hasn't a clue which one, nor any proof of his suspicions.
Moore invites Capa to sit in on the next group session, hoping for a fresh perspective and possibly some insights into the matter. At the moment, Capa feels incapable of actively engaging in the practice of his chosen field of endeavor, but in light of the fact that he's Bob's house guest, he acquiesces and agrees to observe the group. But it proves to be an inauspicious proposition for all concerned, and subsequent circumstances quickly put Capa at the center of just the kind of situation he left New York to avoid. Once the hand is dealt, however, he has no choice but to play it out to the end.
Rush began his career as a director with low budget exploitation films like `Too Soon to Love' in 1960, and ten films later achieved legitimate status with the highly successful black comedy, `The Stunt Man' in 1980, for which he received an Oscar nomination (along with his leading man, Peter O'Toole). He did not direct again until this film, some fourteen years later, and during that hiatus, Rush apparently lost whatever expertise he had accrued by 1980, and his `roots' are clearly showing in this one. The violence of the film is inherent in the story, but Rush makes it unnecessarily graphic; and while this could have been an incisive and insightful character study (and intrinsically more interesting), he takes the low road, fleshing it out instead with scenes of gratuitous sex and nudity, as well as superfluous action (he works in no less than two ridiculous car chases, one culminating in a vehicle being pushed from the top of a high rise parking garage). Furthermore, he ignores motivations and character development almost entirely; the two areas that required the most attention if this film was going to work at all.
Rush especially lets his actors down, inasmuch as most of these characters presented real challenges that could have been met much more successfully with the help and guidance of the director. Rush would have served his actors, as well as himself, better had he taken the time to explore these people being portrayed with some depth. He apparently did not, however, and with one exception the performances by one and all suffer for it.
In 1994, Bruce Willis simply was not the accomplished actor he is today, and he, especially, could have used some help in finding his character. it was help he obviously did not get, and his Capa ends up being too much John McClane and not enough Malcom Crowe. Willis flounders between the two personalities, creating a kind of schizophrenic characterization that seriously affects the credibility of his portrayal. And it's the same fate suffered by Scott Bakula here. Even in the scenes which places them in their `professional' setting as psychoanalysts, they are simply not convincing.
Making the case of poor directing even stronger are the performances of Lesley Ann Warren (Sondra), Brad Dourif (Clark), Ruben Blades (Lt. Martinez) and Kevin J. O'Connor (Casey). Like Willis, all of them seem to have trouble defining their individual characters, vacillating between any number of personalities and unable to achieve that necessary, final focus. It's the kind of indecisiveness that is usually resolved during rehearsals, but inexplicably made it to the screen here. The single exception is the performance turned in by Lance Henriksen, as Buck, who unlike his costars, somehow managed to find his character and make him convincing.
The odd-'woman'-out of the entire bunch is Jane March, who as Rose has perhaps the most challenging role of all, and when given the opportunity actually displays some talent. Unfortunately, Rush-- for the most part-- uses her in a way that is demeaning and without merit, and she becomes the object of a sleight-of-hand that is nothing more than a cheap trick Rush pulls out of his hat. And by failing to use her in a more productive way, by not concentrating on developing her character (which is so vital to the story), Rush commits his most critical error of all.
The supporting cast includes Eriq La Salle (Detective Anderson), Jeff Corey (Ashland), Kathleen Wilhoite (Michelle), Shirley Knight (Edith Niedelmeyer), John Bower (Medical Examiner) and Andrew Lowrey (Dale Dexter). The high note of this entire project was played before it ever even got off the ground, that being the story itself; but screenwriters Matthew Chapman and Billy Ray proceeded to methodically remove any and all credibility it may have initially contained, and Rush took it from there, taking `Color of Night' straight into that black hole reserved for movies that fail to deliver on their promise. It is not surprising that Rush has not directed a feature film since this one; once the magic is lost, it's hard to retrieve. 2/10.
As I sit and recall all the idiocies of this film, one of the most amusing
that I remember is the idea put forth that a person with DID will disguise
themselves to look like a different person when one of their alternates come
out. In nearly eleven years of knowingly watching these patients switch from
personality to personality, I have yet to see this happen. This is before we
even get into the fact that Jane March's behaviour during this film more
closely resembles that of a person suffering mania - hypersexuality,
paranoia, irrational fear, and so forth.
Bruce Willis must also be wondering why he signed up for this stinker. I'm sure the shooting script must have looked wonderful, but a combination of extremely clumsy editing (the sex scenes in the middle of the film are a wonderful example) and poor character development turned this into another Plan 9 From Outer Space. To all of you who gave this turkey positive comments, I ask you to ask yourselves: what psychiatrist in their right mind would see patients in buildings where it is that easy for patients to off themselves? Especially in such a lawsuit-happy society as America? What psychiatrist in their right mind stays back late in their office without carrying a firearm when they know someone is stalking them? Finally, when was the last time you heard of a psychiatrist taking over a group of patients for a friend in the profession when one of them might have murdered him? Oh, and a special note on Ruben Blades' role: even beat police are not that ignorant about psychiatry, an especially important element of their job considering how often they may be confronted by psych patients waving weapons in the middle of an episodic crisis.
As a veteran of numerous therapy groups, I could not stop laughing at this film. If it had been approached with the intention of making a comedy, then it would have succeeded beyond all expectations. However, the advertising campaign and the babbling tone of the dialogue left me with the general feeling that this film was taking itself WAY too seriously. If you do take yourself that seriously, get a better script. If you have such a ridiculous script that will get laughed at by the 20% that will experience some form of psychiatric problem in their lifetime (that's just a statistical fact based on reported cases... the real incidence may actually be higher), don't take yourself so seriously. It's that simple.
Most people that comment here take the film and story serious as if it
has to have taken place or something, to begin with! Look, I saw this
film late at night and as a big Bruce Willis fan I liked it. And
believe me, I'm not a moron, there's nothing wrong with me. I just
liked this film, it was good entertainment (just what a film is
supposed to do), good thrilling, (just what a thriller should do!) and
good acting. Nice of Brad Dourif to drop by in this film, I remembered
him from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Billy) immediately.
Now for the story, I think character building was adequate. Of course you must not think too much. No psychiatrist would visit their patients at home and there is more that doesn't add up, but never the less, I was surprised with the end. People are getting killed and the killer is out there, really close to the main character. You really don't know who did it, all though you have your hunches. And that makes a thriller worth while, I think. And about eroticism, this film has stuff for him and her. Bruce really looks great in jeans and you get to see him naked here! And Jane March is stunning, also naked. Beautiful sex-scenes and nicely edited. The film has a nice chase too, a Mercedes SL against a Camaro or Trans Am.
Advice: see this film and judge for yourself! (and write it down here!) Switch your senses off and just let yourself be entertained. You'll see, you'll like it!
Now, I know this is not even close to being Willis's best movie or role. I
still thought this was a decent thriller. A good supporting cast with Brad
Dourif(voice of Chucky, the best Horror icon ever!) & Lance Henriksen(who
will star in just about anything these days) just to name a few.
I can understand why Jane March hasnt done much, she'll be type-cast as woman who takes clothes off alot. & yeah, this is as close to a porn flick as you can get, when it comes to big named actors in studio movies.
In my opinion, there are worse movies with Bruce Willis. This is worth seeing if you're in the mood for a adult-orientated suspense thriller...with quite alot of sex. & yes, ladies, You can see Bruce's winky in this too.
The director's cut, no pun intended, seems to be a much better film
than the one that was shown commercially, but it still is a far cry
from a satisfactory movie to watch. Richard Rush could have done
better, but the psychological film we see, adds nothing to what has
already been shown before.
From the beginning we realize who the killer is, as well as the person with the multiple personality problem. It's too obvious! The film relies heavily on the sexual attraction between Bill Capa and Rose. Much has been speculated in this forum about whether we are actually seeing Willis' willis, or not. Since most male stars wouldn't be caught dead showing their genitals, for obvious reasons, what is seen for a second in the pool scene is that of a body double. On the other hand, we see Jane March showing it all, which is a welcome attraction.
Only the final sequence has any impact. There are many things in the plot that don't add up and the viewer is ahead of the story at all times.
Bruce Willis with a hairpiece looks good. Jane March has a better chance with the character she plays. Also Brad Dourif, Lance Henriksen have their moments. The one that doesn't come across well is Ruben Blades, an otherwise excellent actor trying to do a Columbo routine in this film.
Knowing nothing about this movie before I saw it, I have to admit that it surprised me with its plot-twists...but looking back, I should have known better! That's the great thing about trashy movies: you can have a high time while it's playing, knowing you'll hate yourself the next day (and that you'll never have to watch the thing again). Bruce Willis is a psychiatrist troubled by a patient's suicide; he goes to stay with a friend and...to give any more away would be criminal! Suffice it to say, Bruce is nude in this one, and it's a long-held sequence that gives star-peepers what they've paid for. I didn't think the sex scenes were terrifically charged, but you gotta hand it to Willis: he takes a chance here and shows his courage. Yet there are times when he has question marks all over his face, as if to ask, "what's a nice box-office star like me doing in a piece like this?" ** from ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film isn't nearly as bad as IMDb users made me think it was. Yes, there were a couple of fairly ludicrous things late in the movie, such as climbing the tower for no apparent reason, (but remember, that character was a loon) and especially the red Firebird on the top of the parking garage. I have an idea why these things were forced into the movie. Probably just because someone (Rush?) thought it would be cool to photograph. It's sort of like porn, where the most common positions aren't done to reflect real life, or because they are particularly erotic, or even comfortable, but because they provide the best camera angle. Aside from the last twenty minutes or so, the film was pretty good. Jane March being naked a lot helped, of course. It is odd that Willis' character didn't recognize her in her Bonnie persona while walking past her, she didn't look that different. However, I wouldn't have caught on that she was Richie, also. (NOTE: This is NOT a spoiler, because March is listed as all those characters in the cast list on IMDb, which I saw before viewing the movie.) The film has elements of many different genres, and could be thought of as a psychological thriller, an action movie, a dreamy love story, and a regular murder mystery. Bruce Willis turned in a good performance. As much as I try to dislike his smarmy, perpetual smirk, he has a certain charisma as an actor that I cannot deny. In spite of its flaws, this film is worth a look. Grade: B
When I saw The Man in the Iron Mask through to the end, I thought I'd reached the depth of cinematic embarassment. Color of Night, amazingly, is worse. In this straight-to-trashcan production by Alan Smithee wannabe Rush, Bruce Willis and Jane March co-star in what was probably intended as a psychological thriller, but turned out as a campy comedy with very few laughs. Support actors Pakula, Warren, Dourif and Blades murder lines from a script that should have never been considered for production. The plot roams, swerves and bucks without making any sense at any point in the movie. None of the characters convince or connect, and none of the dialogue moves or sparkles, though Dourif does try. The Raspberries go to Willis and March, though. Willis gets his for the worst script-picking of his career. And March for the mistake of thinking she's in a Playboy feature - though the camera work supports this misconception. These two are supposed to be young lovers, but there is no recognizable chemistry whatsoever. Even the sex scenes are lame and unconvincing. Yes, we get to see Willis's willy. And yes, there isn't much of ms. March we don't get to see. But I've never seen two actors who looked less like they enjoyed making out, and I've seen Attack of the Clones twice. If you're reading this trying to decide if you want to rent this movie, just send me your five bucks. If you're deciding if you want to watch it on TV, go to your bathroom and watch mould develop instead. You'll have a better time.
I loved this movie! Willis and March are simply excellent. This is a movie that you'll want to watch again and again. I think this flick was highly under rated! The sexual energy between Bruce Willis and Jane March is amazing. However, it's the tiny nuances which really made the film fun to re-watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Looking at the other reviews, this film is like marmite - you either like it or hate it! I liked it quite a lot. Bruce Willis is quite enjoyable - you could compare it to The Sixth Sense - he's a therapist in that one too. It's the kind of film where there are preposterous moments that make you smile, but there's enough good acting to outweigh that. Is it 'so bad, it's good'? - Yes at times it falls into that category - especially in the closing scenes. However, lots of credit to Jane March... call me slow on the uptake if you like, but I had no inkling that Ritchie/Rose are the same actress till the end. One thing that lets it down is the music - fairly corny at times, could have been much improved with a more original score. I think Dale should have risen one more time from the dead, to make it a truly 'so bad it's good' film!
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