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Marty Lakewood is a reporter forced to leave Chicago and his family because he had uncovered too much police corruption. He returns to his small home town on the California coast to his ailing mother and prostitute sister, with whom he had an incestuous affair. Being short of money, he seduces a woman cop in order to sell her house. Written by
Dragan Antulov <email@example.com>
This is not a film for everyone. It is dark, sultry, twisted and self indulgent, and that doesnt have mass appeal nowadays unless Quentin Tarantino is directing and people are shooting each other in the face. It is, however, a terrific piece of filmmaking and as a fifties period piece it is surpassed only by films actually made in the fifties.
It is the story of brother and sister twins who were traumatized as children and turn out quite screwed up as adults. There is the ever present hint of incest looming in their relationship and they are both prone to lascivious escapades. The story serves up a slice of their lustfully demented lives together.
You almost have to be over 50 to appreciate this movie or be someone who likes old black and white films from that era. Director Michael Oblowitz has recreated not just the look, but the feel of the period. Tom Priestly, who went on to be the cinematographer on The Thomas Crown Affair did a fantastic job with filters and lighting to give the film an authentic fifties feel. The sets, props, costumes and music were all meticulously accurate. The use of a first person narrative (the story was narrated by Marty [Billy Zane]) was a very popular device in 40s and 50s films (think Humphrey Bogart).
Unfortunately, the film was more form than substance since the story was a just meandering film noir libido ride. Still, for fifties nostalgia buffs, this is a treat.
Gina Gershon was fabulous as Carol. She was sexy, seductive, and lewd while simultaneously being vulnerable and fragile. I cant remember seeing her in a role better suited to her talents, nor can I remember her giving a better performance. Billy Zane was really wrong for this part. His acting was fine, but it failed to capture the character considering the context of the period. Men of this period were known for their strength and impassive response to almost everything. Naturally this would always lead to a great scene marked by a fit of anger somewhere in the film as the pressure became too great for him to bear. Zane was too mercurial in his portrayal of this character. He had the male sex thing down, but he came across as shrill and defensive in a lot of scenes, very un-fifties.
Sheryl Lee gave a terrific performance as Lois, the sex crazed lady cop who becomes obsessed with Marty. We may never hear from her again, but for one film she grabbed the spotlight and ran with it. She was so desperately needy and shameless in her appetite for Marty that it seemed she couldnt live unless she was breathing the air he just exhaled.
I gave this film a 7/10. It is a 10 as far as filmmaking and period authenticity and the story was about a 5. If you like film noir, unabashed lust and the fifties, this movie is a must see.
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