A christian medium sees a vision of a hitman killing his target. The vision turns true, and the same hitman is assigned to kill her. Her drunk father/manager doesn't believe she got the gift, and a curious journalist tries to protect her.
Martha Travis is a medium who makes contact with spirits "on the other side" and connects them with their loved ones still alive, in public performances. Trouble begins when she gives a message to Mary Kuron from her husband, Tom. But Tom isn't dead - yet. And Martha not only knows he will die, she also knows who killed him. And the murderer knows she knows. Her exploitative elderly alcoholic father and manager, Walter Travis, and Gary Wallace, a skeptical investigative reporter fascinated by the story who eventually falls for Martha, try to protect her, and so does the skeptical police - or do they.Written by
Yuval Kfir <yuval.kfir@Indigo.co.il>
Mike Hodges' Black Rainbow is a clever little supernatural thriller, at least up until the final act where things get a little muddled, Hodges failing to wrap things up in a satisfactory manner. The film stars Rosanna Arquette as medium Martha Travis, who travels the religious circuit with her father Walter (Jason Robards), earning money from eager church audiences hoping to hear from their dear departed. During one of these events, Martha has a vision of man called Tom, even though the man's wife Mary-who is in the audience-insists that her husband is alive and well at home. That evening, Tom is killed in cold blood by a hitman hired to prevent him from blowing the whistle on malpractice at the factory where he works.
Intrepid reporter Gary Wallace (Tom Hulce) investigates the story, but is sceptical about Martha's powers, at least until she accurately predicts the deaths of several men in a disaster at a power plant. Convinced that Martha is no longer a fake, Gary believes that Martha knows the identity of Tom's killer, and that she might be his next target.
A strong cast go a long way to making this film as entertaining as it is: Arquette is beguiling as troubled Martha, who has to contend with an alcoholic father who refuses to believe in her supernatural abilities. Robards' does his flawed character justice, making him both likeable yet also pathetic; and Hulce does well with a role that is primarily there to drive the narrative. However, the best comes from Mark Joy as the assassin, who makes for a truly loathsome individual, the horror of what he does for a living compounded by the fact that we see him as husband and father to his unsuspecting wife and kids.
It should come as no surprise that the finalé sees the nasty killer attempting to silence Martha before she can spill the beans, but this is where things go pear-shaped, Martha's powers now including astral projection, the girl appearing in spiritual form to both her father and the killer. The police (led by a cop who I thought was in the pay of the factory owner who hired the hitman in the first place) pump a few rounds into the villain, but only after he's put a few slugs in poor old Walter. Soon after, Martha vanishes without a trace. It really doesn't make much sense, and neither does the very final scene, set ten years later, in which Wallace, having finally tracked down Martha, visits her home to find it deserted, dilapidated and overgrown with weeds. Not a scooby.
6.5/10, rounded up to 7 for Arquette in her sexy black underwear. Hot diggity!
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