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Susan Morrison is getting married to wealthy industrialist Rick Barnes. Danny, her teenage son with ex-husband Frank, isn't happy about this; he stows away in Rick's car one night, planning to go to Frank's house. But while there, he witnesses Rick murdering mysterious stranger Ray Coleman. Problem is, Rick's managed to dispose of most of the evidence, and he's considered a pillar of the community, while Danny has a history of lying. Frank believes him, though, and does some investigating of his own, as Rick's shady past slowly catches up to him and his new family. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
What is it with John Travolta? He can command just about any script he desires, and he signs on for the lead in this pedestrian rubbish? The man has talent, but he needs some serious career counseling. This script is not even TV grade. A kid has cried wolf a couple of times so the police don't bother to follow up when he claims he saw his step father murder someone; yes, that's very realistic. The screenplay would make any Wisconsin dairy farmer proud. It has so many holes that it is better classified as fantasy/comedy than drama.
I'm surprised that this product comes from director Harold Becker (`The Onion Field', "Malice') who has given us a couple of fine thrillers. Besides the flimsy script, the cinematography is annoyingly underexposed. If Becker was trying for a dark look, he achieved it, because the film is so dark that much of the time you can only tell who's speaking by voice recognition, and that's outdoors during the day!
If there is anything that saves this film from the abyss, it is the acting. Travolta is sometimes fantastic and sometimes awful. In this film he is very good, especially considering the material with which he has to work. Matthew O'Leary is particularly good as the troubled son. He gives a convincing performance, capturing the motivations of his character effectively with all the conflict one would expect from a kid in his situation. Vince Vaughn gives a decent performance, though he is a bit tentative when trying to be duplicitous. He is much more convincing as a villain than a good guy. Steve Buscemi is one of my favorite bad guys, extremely underrated and unappreciated for his consistently sleazy characters. Again, he gives us a terrifically slimy portrayal of Rick's former underworld buddy.
To enjoy this film you have to look beyond the tired plot, the unbelievable departures from reality and the poor cinematography. These are just too many liabilities to overcome. I rated it a 5/10.
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