Bad Company (1995)
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The film owes a great deal to the stylish production it was given by director Damian Harris and his team. The Vancouver location doesn't take away from Seattle, where it's supposed to take place. The excellent cinematography of Jack N. Green adds dimension to the movie.
Laurence Fishburne, as the cool Nelson Crowe, is a major asset to the picture. So is Ellen Barkin, an actress that is always good to watch and is sadly missed from the screen, as she hasn't made a film in years. Frank Langella, Michael Beach, and above all, Gia Carides, made tremendous contribution to the film.
In this film there is a lot of intrigue, and calculatedly items appear balanced each other, and with good quality, well located also on an interesting script that gets a little predictable end,
Very large falls in topics regarding money, power ... but even great films also happens the same, and yet they are very good and very famous.
Highlight cast Ellen Barkin, Laurence Fishburne and a decent performance. The characters are psychologically well maintained and much better if they get to know in detail throughout the film. When this is achieved, moreover, all you do then it should fit perfectly with what we see in them. But all this could not be achieved with a good result, and even less in the current black film, no rough use but not exaggerated violence, sex and realism for more action scenes.
I love the degree of sophistication that each character possesses,treating each other as petty contrivances standing in the way of their decidedly selfish goals.They absolutely reek of elegance.Even their conflicts are handled in a gentlemanly manner,like being slapped with a silk glove instead of the customary right cross or knee to the groin.The bullets flying about even seem to adhere to some sort of proper etiquette!The characters even refuse to die wearing anything off the rack!
This film is more about gracious duels than cacophonous shoot-outs and car chases.It is,quite simply,a film for the sophisticate.The person who admires the cool detachment of Hannibal Lecter(minus his dietary proclivities),or the person who has an especially warm spot for humorous lines that only aspire to deliver a wicked grin instead of a hearty guffaw.This movie fully realizes that most of its characters are unapologetic elitists,and it applauds them.Nowhere is this more clear than in the character portrayed by Daniel Hugh Kelly.His elegantly evil performance is so deliciously smarmy that it was obviously created for the sole purpose of providing that wicked grin that I spoke of before.
If you consider yourself more trip-hop than hip-hop,more Oscar De La Renta than Old Navy,more Paris in the spring than Peoria in the summer,then this is the film for you!
Nelson Crowe is the control freak and the killer, great acting by Laurence Fishburne. These people are simply doing whatever they have to do, but not want to. They're all in massive pressure and you can feel it--thanks for the brilliant acting. The pressure is pushing everyone crazy and changing them. I think the best part of the movie is where Nelson pushes Margaret onto the table when she tries to fight back, and say "you're the angel I dreamed of". What a great social engineer! While in the last part, she simply had enough of his bullshit and couldn't take it no more. (as I said before, Nelson is the control freak)
When Margarent killed the old guy, there was a moment where she was emotionally stunned, but she didn't want to show it before Nelson and they still had business to do.
While the plot seems strange, and could be changed abit, it's still a great see would recommend anyone to see it. There are simply too much things in this film to mention. Be warned though the ending is quite disturbing some people might not like it.
Frank Langella plays the only seemingly decent human being in the whole bunch, even though he runs a covert company, which works at corporate espionage; bringing to bear any disgusting technique which will benefit his client's bottom line.
Laurence Fishburne is very good in this as a coldly calculating operative. He oozes cool and menace as a ruthless agent, who will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Very interesting movie to watch, but these are people I hope to never come across.
Now, you decide whether the sex was real or they were acting. When I first saw this scene, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. No doubt in my mind as to what happened. Don't believe me? Rent the tape and grab your remote and hit the pause button as she settles down on top of him.
The sex scenes seemed forced, and I bet that they weren't in the original script. Thomas doesn't need to use sex to relate characters to each other, but it's a quick 'gimmie' for the film.
I recommend this movie to any Ross Thomas fan, especially given that it was probably the last thing he wrote before he died. Otherwise, watch it if you're into mystery, but know that it's not very thrilling, and can move slowly at times.
The plot isn't anything special but two features of the movie are worth noting. First, the performances on the part of all the principles is just fine. Ellen Barkin is a surprise as a suave and elegant femme fatale. Fishburn is slow and considerate. (This is not an action movie.) And Frank Langella is outstanding in whatever role he takes on.
The second admirable element is the stylization of both the sets and the dialog. It's not overdone, not inaccessible, but not entirely realistic either. It's done just enough, like a classic cheese soufflé.
It presents a pretty lousy picture of humankind, Schopenhaueresque, but -- well.
Note that a *whole* lot of people reviewing the movie apparently were not paying attention during the climax... the rest contains spoilers that explain it...
spoiler. spoiler. spoiler. spoiler.
In the finale, the silly woman who had gone to get revenge shoots *with her eyes closed* and empties the gun she had taken, hitting *nothing*. Thus the outgunning that people talk about, or ellen barkin getting taken out with rounds to the belly are hogwash. In the tradition of Prizzi's Honor, Barkin and Fishburne stalk through this attempting to kill each other. Barkin takes Fishburne in the head, and he shoots her in the heart at the exact same time. Only when the shooting stops and the woman opens her eyes does she see them lying dead... her gun having hit *noone*.
It's a lot of noir moody style. There is not much attention paid to provide any rooting interesting for the characters. It's a lot of cold distant characters and loads of dark hard-boiled cool style. It's so cool that there is no heat in it even with the sizzling Barkin. There is not enough excitement or tension. These are great actors and they almost make this work. The schemes, blackmail, brides and double-cross do get to be questionable. The problem is that I stop caring about halfway through.
The concept of a thriller involving CIA operatives and shady goings on combined with the question 'who can you trust?' will be nothing new to anybody and, for this reason, this film doesn't really do anything wrong but doesn't do anything special either. The plot is full of twists and turns but none of them are really surprisingly or even that interesting; meanwhile the 'thriller' aspect of the film never really gets up to speed and a big problem with it is the delivery. The story is a rather plodding drama at times and it could have done with being a lot slicker dark but slick. Without many thrills the plot sags easily and the audience may feel almost bored at times; considering the stakes are murder, corruption and betrayal it is a surprising that it is so flat. The dialogue also suffers from being a bit flat; contrast it with the sparkling dialogue of David Mamet (in Spartan for example) and this just feels clunky and lacking in effort.
Of course having a great cast helps to counteract that but there is only so much that they can do at times but they still manage to have a good presence and add to the material. Barkin is sexy, manipulative, needy and cold all by turns it is a role she can do very well and she rises above the material here. The rest of the leads rely on presence more than performance but they mostly succeed. Fishburne is always interesting and he excels at tough and cool, making a good lead. Langella is cool professionalism and suits his character well. Beach is good; Stiers is a well-known face and fits his minor role well while Spalding Gray is a rather sad reminder of his suicide but he is very good in his character. Of course it is Barkin and Fishburne that dominate the film and both are pretty strong, actually making up for wider delivery problems and making the material feel better than it is.
Overall this is nothing special but it does enough to be worth watching once. The cast provide strong performances with good screen presences all round but the delivery is roundly flat and never gets as tight or thrilling as other films in the genre effortlessly manage. The plot is old news and the dialogue feels flat and lacking in imagination and effort, rather taking the life out of the film and making it feel a lot more workmanlike than the names in the cast list would suggest it could be.
Ellen Barkin is one of the most radiantly sexy women that Hollywood has seen (but has not always used well!). This film, unfortunately, is another example where she is not used well. The production designer did a superb job, and costumes, apartments, offices, and outdoors scenes are strikingly gorgeous. But the scriptwriter evidently put in no effort into this production. The plot concerns a chemical company sued for causing pollution-related injuries, yet evidently they were so naive as to not carry liability insurance. A person who has never used a gun before outguns two ex-CIA operatives. A corrupt Washington State judge is a character out of some 19th century morality play. The film is set in Seattle but filmed in Vancouver. It was deemed sufficient to put up a "Seattle Hot Dogs" stand to create that illusion...fat chance.
The "romance" between Barkin and Fishburne is a joke--they seem to share as much in common as fish and fowl. In addition, Barkin does not get to show any skin in her sex scenes in this prudish movie. For that matter, I'm not even sure these scenes were not optical overlays--there is that little interaction between characters. But the basic problem is that there are no sympathetic characters, nor even any good guys that later go bad. Everyone is just triple-crossing everyone else. Why should we care?
Go see Siesta, Big Easy, Sea of Love, or Mercy to see Barkin in good roles, instead.
Perhaps, the end would be disappointing; it even may turn the whole thing into pointless movie. However, it got to end the 2 malicious worldly-wise leads by the hand of inexperienced idiot who closes her eyes while shooting guns, all for making the deep bitter paradox, and for the sake of assuring how a couple like this would one way or another end each other, and how the true lover can win at last (even forcedly!), especially with this easy naive solution of random festival of killing, where the bad guys go to hell, and the kind one hits the jackpot, and wins the revenge (How poetic, and fabricated, this justice was!). Not to mention that it didn't care about the rest of the characters' fates, which ultimately stamped it with the "deficient" mark, and it is.
Despite that, it managed somehow to embody the concept of (Bad Company) whereas it's not a "bad intelligence", no, it's more like "evil association" that must eat and eat till it eats itself in the end. The movie's title got its double meaning already, but the movie itself wasn't perfectly satisfying in the both lines, expressly the superficial one, so that's where all the bad feeling about the movie may come from.
Director (Damian Harris) filled it with stylish style. Everything was beautiful and anesthetically colorful. The image was so soft, the cinematography and the editing were always smooth, the clothes seemed sharp, even the smallest details were fine. Something to attract, bewitch, and make the irony with all the putrefaction within; where nothing is filthy but the whole moralities. I loved the private agency's set; it looked like luxurious prison, scary company, or fake monastery. Though, I felt some coldness when it came to dealing with what was inside the characters, which left a clear negative effect on the acting. Ellen Barkin was awful, aside from a poorly written role, her face was so provocatively dead, and originally she's pathetically sexy to be that irresistible Femme Fatale !
Yes, it's partly amusing, acridly satirical, with a nasty character, capturing the outrageous sense of the 1980s' and the 1990s' erotic thrillers. But it's not a brilliant thriller, inasmuch as a movie about utterly unfaithful world, where all would kill or be killed simply for money and power. So when I listen to its clever sad music score, I feel the real motive of the movie, and I feel sad because the movie, as a whole, remains semi-contrived and imperfect though.