This one is way off the radar or "noirdar". Probably because its never seen or has been dismissed or mislabeled as fluff. It's probably forgotten for two reasons, one it was a Showtime film (much like The Last Seduction was originally an HBO film), and two, it had a lot of adult T&A but its all germane to the story, its T*i*t*s & A*s*s with CLASS. It can be done and done well. It's also as noir a tale as you can get.
Kevin Anderson plays a young 30-ish American, Alex Walker, a sailor on the run from a second degree murder charge, whose cargo ship is working the Gulf coast of Mexico, think of the classic Noir roles that went to Steve Cochran, William Holden, Glen Ford etc.
John Lithgow plays the "ne plus ultra" Ugly American John Mills, channeling Henry Fonda and touches of other classic Noir performances you see a bit of Jimmy Stewart a bit of Broderick Crawford, he's so very entertaining in the role, an excellent performance.
Rosanna Arquette plays the Heartbreaker, Mills' young wife/common law friend with benefits, a real lovable Floozy Femme Fatale named Missy. Arquette is playing the exact type of exhibitionist, free spirit role that in the late 50s early 60s would have been given to Brigitte Bardo, Arquette is smoking-ly sultry in this film and beautiful to watch a siren luring men to their fate.
There is also a good policier angle that is nicely fleshed out of a young Mexican Criminal Law graduate Ortega played by Ernesto Laguardia . who will remind you of a young Ricardo Montalban, vs. the old school police chief Diaz played excellently by Jorge Cervera Jr. who gives off a John Wayne/Harry Carey vibe. The cinematography is outstanding, the noir sequences to die for, the Mexican locations humidly hypnotic.
Robert Harper is excellent as the fleece joint operator in Tampico, he has some memorable sequences, I think Dan Duryea or Timothy Carey as I watch him.
I'm starting to believe that what makes Neo Noirs authentic Neo Noirs for me, is not only a heavy dose of Noir stylistic cinematography along with a simple Noir storyline, but also a bit of cinematic memory, when you can picture the stars in these Neos as inheritors of Classic Noir star parts, or see a nod to Classic Noir locations combined with an old school, without bells & whistles, low budget, "B" film artistry you reach the tipping point into full blown Noirsville.
All the action sequences are done very well and all low key, mostly on foot, no automatics, no car chases, no explosions, just good choreography on existing location, Bravo! Watch for the "Duello of the Wrong Man" sequence, "The Death Of Felix" sequence, "The Ballad of the Heartbreaker" and "The Dance of the Siren". You wont be disappointed.
I had to order this off Ebay from Hong Kong, it's worth it. It's equal to the best Neo Noirs of the 90s, a great, great soundtrack by Los Lobos too, enjoy.
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