A deadly thriller set in New Orleans, about a wealthy businessman, Charlie Le Blanc, who discovers that he only has a short time to live. As he prepares to will his fortune to his beautiful, adoring young wife, Lilly, he begins to wonder if she really deserves it. In order to test her loyalty, he befriends a handsome young man, Jimmy Mulate, and offers him $40,000 to tempt his wife. Jimmy refuses at first, until he meets Lilly, then he's hooked. He makes his play for her and she refuses; she really is loyal to her husband Charlie. But when Charlie's secretary tells Lilly about the scheme she becomes infuriated, invites Jimmy back to her house, and sleeps with him. Unbeknownst to the lovers, Charlie has had a surveillance expert wire the house, and now he knows everything. When Charlie confronts Jimmy and asks if he has anything to report, Jimmy says "no", because he has fallen in love with Lilly. He has now become a pawn in this deadly game between husband and wife. Charlie then ... Written by
Ary Luiz Dalazen Jr. <email@example.com>
Bill Bennett is one of those directors, like Stanley Kubrick, who insists on trying out different genres just to see if he can do it; hence his Australian road movie `Kiss or Kill', his period anthropological drama `In a Savage Land' (set in the Trobriand Islands), his broad ocker comedy `The Nugget' and this one, an example of film noir set in New Orleans (Melbourne would be a bit more of a challenge). He also apparently saved on the script by getting the actors to improvise, a risk of course that Kubrick never took. His actors are fortunately professional and experienced, if not big names, (Burt Reynolds is the most prominent) and rise to the occasion, more or less, though some of the sex scenes required unusual agility to avoid injury.
Charlie Le Blanc, a successful builder (Burt Reynolds), has been told he hasn't long to live (something nasty in his brain), and has become obsessed with the idea that his beautiful ex-model wife Lilly (Saffron Burrows), 30 years younger, may not be faithful to him and therefore not be worthy of the fortune she will inherit. So he engages Jimmy (Peter Facinelli), one of his carpenters (who also happens to be working his way through law school) to test her out for a $50,000 fee. Jimmy, with an indeterminate accent but helped by Tom Cruise-ish good looks, has little trouble cracking the case, so to speak, but things start to go wrong after Jimmy tells his gay friend Ted (Eric Mabius) about the deal. Naturally, Charlie has engaged a private eye to videotape everything and we soon have lots of incriminating evidence on tape the American obsession with recording everything strikes again. The police never had it so easy.
Although the plot's twists and turns lose the viewer occasionally, it's a reasonably absorbing thriller with the appropriately noir atmosphere. Filming in N'orlands as the locals call it, makes this easy of course, though as an ex-resident I think the place's sleaziness is much over-emphasised. Despite the majority black population I think there is only one black speaking part in the movie, another handsome building worker approached to do Charlie's job who is dismissed as being a bit uppity another great Southern cliche. I would recommend avoiding the famous above-ground cemeteries at night, though. It's not the Vampires you have to worry about, just local hoodlums, who are invariably armed. La Fayette number one is a particularly bad spot and sure enough our characters march right into it.
Burt Reynolds is fine as Charlie, whose ruthlessness is not quite offset by his charm (Burt, being born in Georgia, has no trouble with the southern accent.) Saffron Burrows stick insect as sexpot is mostly convincing and Peter Facinelli may lack Tom Cruise's intensity, but he handles his role OK. The acting honours I think go to Mike Starr who plays a supporting character, Charlie's sidekick, the mountainous Dot Collins, a fine example of a family man who will do terrible things in the name of loyalty John Goodman as Oddjob.
7 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?