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This Canadian production gives us Dennis Hopper and Frederick Forest as two detectives who are left only 48 hours to find the serial murderer. If they don't get the job done, the mayor's major investment in some property will be ruined and she'll be out of office. The mayor, however, is involved with some highly juiced Irish crooks, including Tom McCamus, and she puts the crooks on the tail of the serial murderer too because the killings are upsetting her apple cart. Tom McCamus has a great face for the movies. (He was an incestuous Dad in "The Sweet Hereafter".) And you can't beat him name, "Son of Camus." Unfortunately his acting here is about at the level of everyone else's -- strictly utilitarian. Dennis Hopper tries to play it straight, really he does. But underneath the professional cop and the flawed father we still sense the demon. I've always liked Frederick Forest. I don't think he's ever made it possible for a viewer to forget he's acting, but he looks great with his puffy eyes and louche ponytail. He looked even better as Dashiel Hammett. Not to put any of these performers down. Their acting doesn't stand out as poor because no one's stands out as particularly good. Leslie Hope seems to bring a kind of blur to whatever part of the screen she occupies. (Leslie Hope? Isn't that Bob Hope's real name? Maybe not.) The script is generic and not especially bad. The direction is efficient. The photography is really quite good. The colors are cool but appropriately so. And the lighting is as it should be -- solid black shadows where they are called for, and naturalistic lighting elsewhere. They didn't catch The X-File syndrome and throw us a lot of flashlight beams poking about in perpetual gloom. There's what I guess could be called an average chase through some newly constructed sewer at the climax.
In first explaining how the sewer works to the investigators, the manager goes through his practiced tour -- the street runoff comes in here and is congealed with the solid waste, then it's processed in that unit over there, then the solid waste is emulsified and extracted by the Nakatomi Solid Waste Extractor, the individual E. coli are vasectomized, the cholera vibrios receive twelve-step counseling, the chloroform and bacteriocidal material are added over there, diluted with Toxico Smegmaphage, fractionally distilled, tested on experimental groups drawn from third-world prisons, and then its flushed out into the reservoir.
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