Color of Night (1994) Poster

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Suspense, Mystery, Sex, and Violence, what more can you ask for?
yogi-314 July 2002
This is a favorite movie of my wife and I. It stands up to our toughest test, i.e., it stands up to repeated viewing and seems better each time we watch it. Some object to the sex and violence but `get a life' it's just a movie,(as Lt. Hector Martinez (Ruben Blades)) would say `you Daffodils!'
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Director Rush Goes Down with the Ship
jhclues8 July 2002
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.
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A film should entertain and a thriller should thrill - this one does that!
fromwalking8 March 2007
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!
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Outstanding images, they created the very special atmosphere and succeeded in keeping it throught the whole movie
yuri_vovchenko16 June 2002
The movie has a few moments that persisted in my mind for long: the falling woman scene at the beginning of the movie, the murder scene(you almost feel the pain from those knife cuts), of course very sincere love moments. The movie has great mystery that keeps you in investigation mood throught the movie.The images of this movie persist for long, not an ordinary movie. thanks to authors, Bruce and Jane.
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Not as bad as all that
smatysia3 March 2001
Warning: 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
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A real mental patient's opinion of this film...
mentalcritic24 March 2001
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.
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A bit far-fetched, but enjoyable
jubjub-bird35915 March 2013
Warning: 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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Is it really Willis' Willis?
jotix10020 October 2004
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.
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Diane300841 March 2002
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.
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Willis bares his wiener!
moviecollector16 April 2004
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.
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An odd choice for Bruce Willis...
moonspinner5521 February 2002
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 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 ****
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They Don't Get Much Worse Than This
FMK5 February 2003
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.
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Grisly Nonsense
Eric Chapman18 December 2000
I have to believe there was some studio meddling to make this more of a conventional thriller, because everyone seems to agree that this represents a major step backwards from the man behind the brilliant "The Stunt Man" - Richard Rush. There are little reminders of his talent early on when Willis' psychiatrist is getting to know the mercurial Jane March. Rush has a knack for making the viewer feel like they're being caught up and swept along in someone's feverish dream - the editing and camera placement seem haphazardly designed to make you feel a little dizzy and open to suggestion.

But otherwise, "Color of Night" is episodic, dim-witted, way over-long, and wildly overblown. There is a lot of over-emoting in this film, especially from that queen of over-emoters - Lesley Ann Warren. The movie's idea of excitement is to have various repellent characters scream the F-word a lot, have tears run down their cheeks and threaten to go off the deep end but never quite do. And there are downright idiotic chase scenes, particularly the one that takes place in the parking garage: for some reason, instead of just running him down, the mysterious Camaro driver pushes a parked car off an upper level and tries to time it so that it will land on Willis on the bottom level. And then of course in the very next scene, Willis is behaving as if nothing really traumatic has happened. In fact, Willis is tentative and under-directed throughout the film.

There is one interesting footnote however. Has anyone else noticed the similarity to "The Sixth Sense", at least as far as basic premise? True, the films couldn't be more different in terms of development of story or quality, but to wit: Both star Bruce Willis as a psychiatrist who feels tremendous guilt over a patient he's failed, and they both highlight the color "red". Hmmmm.
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Not all that bad! Very fun thriller....
Joe Rubell10 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Color of Night was widely panned and hyped for its sex scenes between March and Willis, but aside from that, it's an interesting, cleverly constructed thriller featuring a fine performance from supporting star Leslie Ann Warren.

Willis is likewise, and March delivers a sultry performance as the so-called "femme fatale" (although it's revealed in the climax ending she was innocent). After all the reviews, I was expecting some big-budget, corny action/sex thriller; but I was obviously under a very wrong impression.

Color of Night is an awesome pop-corn film and a fun party movie too.
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Murder, Sex and Mental illness
bat-lev631 December 1998
This is an excellent suspense mystery. It has scenes of a sexual nature , and is definitely not for children. Also the portrayals of the patients and the various mental disturbances is excellent. As a Psychology person I found it to be extremely compelling.
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Not too bad (SOME SPOILERS!)
gmoore4429 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
SOME SPOILERS! I must admit, my main reason to see Color of Night was for the hyped up sex sessions with her and Bruce Willis. I was surprised, to find out that the movie did get my attention, and I watched it to the end, and thought it was pretty good! Jane March was quite good, as the lovers of just about everybody in the group. It took me a while, before I recognized her, as the same woman in a scene with Lesley Warren's character, as the doctor's hot number. It might get a bit confusing, you need to pay attention, as the doctor attempts to uncover the entire plot. It's not a fantastic film, but there are worse movies you could see! Look for the Director's cut, so you can catch the entire sexual romp!
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Has everything but entertainment.
verna5514 November 2000
This over-blown, over-heated Hollywood S & M mystery has everything but entertainment value. Oh yes, there's plenty of wild and crazy(but not particularly titillating) sex, typical of these mindless BASIC INSTINCT "inspired" porn-thrillers, and there are even a few kinky/gory murders thrown it. There just isn't anything that even remotely resembles a good movie. The film casts Bruce Willis as a psychiatrist(Please!) who becomes traumatized after a very disturbed patient commits suicide before his very eyes. He then suffers another blow(no pun intended) when his doctor-friend(Scott Bakula) is brutally murdered. Willis is then called in to take over Bakula's creepy group, and the mysterious murders continue. Meanwhile, Bruce gets involved with an attractive, but strange "fender-bender"(Jane March) who has some bizarre connection to the unfortunate chain of events in his life. Bruce is his inimitable DIE HARD-self, and Jane March is pretty in a girlish sort-of-way, but their sex scenes are very difficult to watch because Willis, while undeniably a good-looking guy, still looks every bit of his forty years, while his partner looks all of fourteen, effectively killing any sex appeal this film was suppose to have. But, of course, that is the very least of the movie's problems. Most of the problems can be traced back to the script, a ridiculous combination of BASIC INSTINCT/FATAL ATTRACTION/PSYCHO-type cliches. If you are wondering what the most suspenseful parts of the movie are, there aren't any. The true horror is in the fact that this ugly little number ever got made. This is the price we pay for going to see movies like BASIC INSTINCT. Believe it or not, this movie was directed by Richard Rush, the same guy who gave us the brilliant THE STUNT MAN.
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Sweaty romance and genuine intrigue on the cliffs of Malibu
solomon_kyle18 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I came across the Director's Cut version and popped it in expecting the cinematic quality, based on the title, starring actors and synopsis, to be cheesy at best.

For an early nineties mystery starring Bruce, I thought this was a friggin excellent flick... and entirely watchable. The previous night I had popped in the more recent thriller, Signs, which stars another massive, fresh-faced cracker (Mel Gibson a.k.a The Messiah) and was so bored I passed out. I feel that this was due in large part to Signs' attempt at registering as respectable cinema... basically Shyamalan emulating his breakout hit The Sixth Sense- another decent movie starring mr. willis...

I thought that most of the characters in Color of Night were well-fleshed-out (no pun intended) and likable. The patients' neuroses were a bit contrived but entertaining nonetheless... esp. Sondra's nymphomania and Clark's OCD.

The important thing to realize here is that with a flick like Color of Night the primary reward is ENTERTAINMENT... nothing about it is really very thought-provoking which should be obvious from the get-go. I might not be blessed with a "tuning fork" for mysteries but I was in the dark as to who the killer was for a while and I found some of the plot twists surprising.

The big sale comes of course with the tension between hot co-stars Big Bruce and the buck-toothed but beautiful Jane March... and the myriad sexual encounters which ensue. The kicker is of course the sex-in-the-pool scene, where we are first introduced to March's creamy goodness and gumdrop nipples, and a few short glimpses of Bruce's engorged willis.

The film is downright titillating... with basically every character boning the luscious Rose, who, it seemed to me, was the obvious choice for killer extraordinaire. I think the ending will surprise all but the most vigilant viewers... plus, the cars are cool (Rose drives a teal-and-pink Geo Tracker for chrissakes), the setting is, the breasts are bare, tan lines on full display and lots of creative violence including but not limited to a rattlesnake in the mailbox... oh yeah and there's a cameo appearance by that one dude from Quantum Leap.

Pop some popcorn and don't expect any Academy Award-caliber acting!!
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I really liked it!
kbergen13 June 2004
I've seen the movie several times, and I really like the movie.

It is one of those movies that you start watching because you have nothing better to do, but the second half makes you wish that you'd paid more attention to the first!

Bruce plays the excellent confused lover opposite Jane March, but then again, who wouldn't?!!?!! The "group" scenes are wonderful. They really make you feel like you are within the neurosis of the patients. It is very fun!

I would highly recommend seeing the film, and then watching it. It's well worth it.
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Grossly Underrated
netizenk-252-1638663 December 2012
This movie is most certainly not a masterpiece deserving of a perfect rating, but when I see a solid movie with ratings lower than some total trash I have no option but to overrate in order to contribute at least a little bit to what I think is a proper rating for a movie...

That being said, this movie is actually a solid 7 in my book because it delivers a good plot without too many holes and without over-stretching my suspension of disbelief. It also delivers solid acting and well developed characters, including the support cast which is a rarity in modern Hollywood movies. In short, my feeling was that all the characters were played well, were believable and easy to connect with.

Special kudos go to Jane March who is not only very beautiful and graceful in this role but pulls of a multiple personality role quite well in my opinion and is overall a pleasure to watch and this has nothing to do with the nude scenes which are just an added bonus for some of the audience...

Finally, I suspect this movie is so poorly rated in part because of the aforementioned nudity as I noticed a trend in this regard with all the puritans racing to give a rating of 1/10 to any movie containing nudity.
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Not bad
jazzjunkie25 January 2004
This was a off the wall choice but it turned out fair;y good. The little fact that i could not get is how did he get to live in the house after the owner died. and got to drive around in his car. we just did not see that part. movie was good had enough plot twists Ms Warren was nice and Bruce Willis wasn't too bed either. It kind of threw you in the beginning with everything going on but finally got the just of things later. i wouldn't mind watching it again
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Another that most people will hate, but I enjoy
SykkBoy21 June 2001
I got a kick out of this movie. Sure, the dialog is cheesy and the story a bit contrived...but there's naked Jane March, easily one of the most beautiful women in movies today.

Brad Dourif has also never given a poor performance.

This reminded me of something Fred Olen Ray or Jim Wynorski would have done (not a bad thing in my eyes) but they could have done it with probably a tenth the budget. Sure, they wouldn't have gotten Bruce Willis or Jane March, but it's basically one of their movies with a bigger budget.

This isn't a title that I'd rush out to see, but will stop the remote when it's on HBO and enjoy on that purely cheesy, total popcorn movie level.

So solid movie, a few laughs (unintentional), naked Jane March and in the directors cut, naked Bruce Willis, Leslie Anne Warren in a lesbian scene with Jane March...what more could a b-movie fan want? 7/10
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Very creatively done, great photography, colorful story
sunznc7 April 2011
Color of Night is a very vibrant, colorful film with odd characters from the very beginning. The opening scenes are jarring leaving one trying to figure out just what exactly is going on. What is going to happen next? The acting by everyone is excellent. I think this is Bruce Willis' best acting yet. His character is very endearing and likable. In fact, all of the characters, as kooky as they may be, are likable here leaving an impression after seeing this.

There are very clever split screen shots using mirrors so that we can see both characters during conversations. The film is overdone though. It becomes a bit too heavy-handed near the end and then we are left with an overdub from one of the characters that seems silly. Also, when we find out who the killer is the actor seems a little uncomfortable with his dialog.

Not perfect by any means but very unique and very well shot. Almost feels like a Brian Depalma film. A mysterious thriller that pulls you in and keeps you interested.
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Lil Brat14 August 1999
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is absolutely excellent. I think it must be one of Bruce Willis' best films, being a brilliant psychologist and getting involved with the complicated yet vulnerable Jane March who has the sick and twisted brother that she desperately needs to get away from with the help of Willis. I recommend this movie to you, so you should either rent it or buy it.
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