This chapter is subtitled "Power, Passion, & Murder". See more »
The original version "Naticia Jackson" was part of the series "Tales from the Hollywood Hills" and runs 56 minutes. The home video edition called "Power, Passion and Murders" combined two episodes of the series, the other episode is "A Table at Ciro's". The problem is, that they inter-cut both stories instead to show just one after the other, which is pretty confusing. Try to watch the original. See more »
There is a substantial list of reasons why this is not a particularly good movie, but not much point in going into them. That being said, there are some very good reasons to watch it, and it's not a bad movie either. Be prepared to tolerate some annoying lighting (which, though, is sometimes quite good) and plot twists, and some slow spots, and you might just enjoy much about it.
For one, the performances are just about all good to very good, usually, and I think in this case, a sign of good directing. Michelle Pfeiffer is huge fun to watch in one of her relatively early roles, several orders of magnitude better than in Scarface, made about the same time. That wonderful quality of hers of showing us her thoughts moment to moment through subtle shifts of expression is on full display here. Her character here is talented and complex, and that and the situations that arise give her plenty of opportunity to show it. Hector Elizondo and Darren McGaven (not listed above, but definitely a major character) also give good, nicely nuanced performances, and so do several minor characters.
Another appealing plus is that there's real chemistry between and among the performers. Pfeiffer's love scenes with a chemist she meets due to a fender bender (I've forgotten his name, sorry) are staged and charged with a subtle energy that most movie love scenes, for all their frenetic movement and heavy breathing, don't even hint at. Her interactions with her director on the set and with Elizondo also seem quietly real, the depth (or lack thereof) of their friendships evident in the mundane daily interactions all of us know. I can think of ten or twelve very nice moments, some among minor characters, that are wonderfully realized, and a reminder that any movie can be made with insight and humane intelligence: yes, these are insignificant and often misguided individuals, but they are human beings, too, and aren't they, the movie asks, interesting to watch? The script is problematic mostly because it's in service to the uneven plot, but much of the dialogue is realistic, with people having real conversations, rather than spouting epigrams and staring meaningfully at each other. And it's often clever, as well.
So, yes, this is indeed a small and very minor movie, and yes, everybody involved had to know it. And yes, the plot has some serious deficiencies, particularly a completely unexpected and unsatisfying ending, and the principles knew that, too. But they went about their business as professionals, and shrewd, talented, and intelligent professionals at that. I was annoyed at the ending, but enjoyed the movie considerably more than the average Hollywood dreck.
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