A debauched Hollywood movie actor tries to piece together one wild night in Miami years earlier which remains a drug-induced blur, and soon finds out that some questions about his past are best left unanswered.
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Matty is a film star who is tired of Hollywood life and moves to Miami, where he makes a proposal to his girlfriend Annie. She is not ready to marry him, and it is revealed that she had an abortion. Depressed because he lost his baby (though it was him who initially asked for abortion), Matty, together with his friend Micky, go on a wild night, they meet a waitress also called Annie and in the end of the night Matty passes out. A year and a half later Matty lives in New York, leads a clean life visiting AA meetings and has a relationship with attractive blonde Susan. He is still obsessed with Annie and returns to Miami, where unexpected news about Annie 2 (the waitress) waits for him. Written by
Neurosis and character antipathy do not make for commercial success. THE BLACKOUT bypassed cinemas in the US, and here in Australia. The multiplex monster has no room for mavericks like Ferrara.
As there are no others quite like the rebellious Ferrara, he takes liberties from his own catalogue. This time, there are shades of SNAKE EYES (1993), and it pre-empts NEW ROSE HOTEL (1998). In form though, it owes much more to Hitchcock, and VERTIGO.
Like VERTIGO, THE BLACKOUT masquerades as a thriller, but is more concerned with the nature of identity. Relocating to Miami, the film is aesthetically great, though Modine looks (justifiably) clueless. The axis of the film is the concept rather than plot and the clash of high-art pretension with low-brow sleaze is conscious.
Some ideas don't come off, and the form of THE BLACKOUT is awkward. But if it is too cold and removed for most filmgoers tastes, it is still a showcase for an uncompromising, daring director, willing to upset accepted conventions.
The biggest disappointment is that his invention is left in this case to an unheralded release, and will go largely unnoticed.
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