|Index||4 reviews in total|
I enjoyed this movie more than I expected. Patrick Bergin played his pivotal role well, moving from unsuspecting victim to misguided avenger. Jennifer Tilly as his faithful partner-to-be was as delightful as ever. Kelly Preston brought a fine mix of sexual tension and intrigue. The double cross was well executed. It left me wondering what I would have done if a beautiful temptress asked me lie about an "accident".
"Double Cross" (1994) is a neo-noir. Being a b-movie and straight to
video, it is likely to have passed beneath the radar of most neo-noir
fans and critics.
In general terms, the story is in the "Double Indemnity" school, but with added complexities that involve inheritance, frame-up and double crosses. The British Columbia locations and landscape used to simulate Nevada are well used, particularly the lonely highway through barren brown hills and a small town.
The tone of the movie is basically serious, but it's leavened with a certain sardonic cynicism. This is brought about in a number of ways. There are the smiles and wiles of Kelly Preston who seduces the protagonist, Patrick Bergin, a very easy task to accomplish. There are Bergin's reactions to his predicaments, which are in a Robert Mitchum "Out of the Past" vein but with almost no voice overs. Jennifer Tilly, who wants to help Bergin, brings in another lighter element, serious and girlish all in one.
To provide a detailed plot outline would spoil the fun. I could not do this anyway without watching the movie again, because when it was over I understood its broad contours but I did not understand the particulars of why certain people did certain things. It became that complicated. Quite possibly, some things cannot be explained. It doesn't matter. I rather enjoyed this, but then I am a noir and neo-noir fan.
On a late night, Jack Conealy (Patrick Bergin) stops at an isolated gas
station. He gets run into by Vera Blanchard (Kelly Preston) in a red
Ferrari. She calls her dad Brian Cody (Kevin Tighe) and he asks Jack to
pretend that he was the one who was driving. They flirt by racing down
the road and spend a hot day together. He was a Wall Street trader who
just spent 4 years in prison for fraud. She's angry that he actually
lives close by. Melissa (Jennifer Tilly) chases after the newly arrived
Jack and works for him in his new video store. Law from a neighboring
casino tries to run him off for some unknown reason. Vera asks him to
write a letter with her father driving and her as a passenger but he
has already filed the insurance claim. It's revealed that Vera is
casino owner Brian's mistress and Jack's letter is an alibi for Brian's
wife's supposed suicide. Insurance investigator Bernard March (Matt
Craven) intends to prove Brian's guilt and not pay out for the death.
This is a run-of-the-mill noir crime drama B-movie. The opening is fine but nothing special. It has some potential despite the poor production value. When everything is revealed and the three characters have a talk, Jack needs to up the ante. He needs to be a money grubbing sleaze that a Wall Street criminal should be. He needs to demand to get paid. Instead, Brian offers and Jack actually refuses. It deflates all the tension. It leaves it open that he could come clean to the police and do a deal. It also leaves the movie with limited potential for surprises.
This film does not hold up at all, but it's worth a view because of Kelly
Preston. The story meanders into predictability, lacks any sort of
suspense, and without having a standout performer it does not keep you
interested long. I mean, the whole young woman with rich older man
is overplayed; the ruthless but sensitive outsider is thoughtless; but
Preston gives you a rare performance.
If your interested in seeing Kelly stripped down a bit, this might be one of the best chances you get. She has a career of avoiding nude scenes, and while she is flaming hot in this picture, she melts on screen in 3 scenes here (with the help of a luscious body double). No real nudity, again a body double's backside (though you are convinced it's Kelly's), but two scenes where Kelly is scantily clothed, and she pulls of very erotic acting. Want to see her in lingerie, rent this.
As for the film, the ending actually is wicked. It has an odd, though predictable, twist, and I think its well shot too. Yes people die and there's lots of deceit, but besides the hot-bod Preston, the film has enough lure to warrant 6 out of 10 stars.
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