A man who has just embezzled money from his company is driving through the Nevada desert. He picks up a pretty girl and her seemingly goofy boyfriend. The girl is a Las Vegas showgirl and ...
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A man who has just embezzled money from his company is driving through the Nevada desert. He picks up a pretty girl and her seemingly goofy boyfriend. The girl is a Las Vegas showgirl and the boyfriend turns out to be a professional killer, and he has no intention of letting the motorist finish the trip.Written by
This movie is flawless. The characters, the plot, dialogue, and the hauntingly beautiful scenery combine to make a movie that is breathtaking. The story is plausible and fascinating, the timing perfect. George O'Brien (Jim Metzler) plays a clean-cut, yuppyish computer executive who takes off from Southern California to set up a new operation in Reno with almost half a million dollars in embezzled money in the trunk of his car (Volvo, of course). He suddenly finds himself on a collision course with a different world when he stops on a lonely stretch of highway near Death Valley and picks up a young couple who have rolled their car on the side of the highway. The duo, perky Patti (Jennifer Rubin) and her sickly companion Chevy (Kyle Secor), quickly turn out to be far more trouble than George could ever have imagined.
The way the personalities of the characters unfold is psychological drama at its absolute finest. At first George cringes at the sophomoric banter of his two passengers, a sleazy gambler and his part-showgirl, part-prostitute "better half." But things get really edgy as George tries to part ways with the luckless pair, and soon he finds himself and his car taken hostage at the point of a gun.
As the story moves forward forward at an even pace, so does the viewer's insight into the complex personalities of the three main characters. Patti is as much a survivor as Chevy is a pathological and abusive hoodlum.
This is one production that deserves to be watched thoughtfully and attentively. Every piece of dialogue, even the smallest gesture, carries its own bit of symbolism, clues to the troubled lives of the hitchhikers and the confusion and mounting terror felt by their unwilling host. This movie accomplishes more with body language than others achieve with the most spectacular visual effects. Even minor characters like Robert Costanzo, who plays a tawdry Las Vegas mobster, and Jerry Orbach as his inconvenient operative, are fascinating and memorable.
As a visual experience, this film is stunning. The vast, gorgeous desert scenery frames both players and plot with an awesome melancholy. A preacher appearing on a flickering television screen in a low-rent motel room is a metaphor for all that is hopeless, while the zombie-like Arabella, seen for scarcely a minute in a Vegas hotel suite, brings to mind an even more chilling image of woman as bimbo without a soul.
Patti, more than any character in this story, is full of contradictions. Her motives and choices can never be predicted, not from the vantage point of the viewer and certainly not by those with whom she must share this part of her life.
If the definitive mark of the film noir is the interaction between tragic, troubled people with conflicting agendas, this is the future face of the genre. It is truly a work of art; not a moment is without meaning. Delusion is a satisfying, mesmerizing movie, one that gets better and better with every viewing.
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