Jeff Fahey is a sketch artist working the the LAPD. Drew Barrymore has witnessed someone entering the house of a murder victim and describes the woman's appearance. When Fahey finished his sketch, it looks like his wife, Sean Young. It not only LOOKS like her; it's a virtual PORTRAIT, with vibrant colors, a little beauty spot, and every hair of her wild do in place. This leaves Fahey disturbed.
He doesn't confront his wife at first, but his suspicions gradually grow as he discovers for the first time that she was doing some kind of fashion work for the murder victim. It gets a little more intense when he discovers one of her ear rings at the crime scene.
Young is very casual about it all. Yes, she was a client of the dead guy but so what? Her ear rings? She lost them somewhere, why? Drew Barrymore turns up a corpse in the LA River, which used to be a nice river before they covered it in concrete and cluttered it up with dead bodies. The LA River Revitalization Corporation is working to turn it from a concrete ditch into an urban oasis. That's fine, as long as they keep the corpses out. In my experience, they've shown themselves to be unresponsive to friendly overtures.
In the course of the investigation, Fahey becomes a suspect himself and turns rogue. He spends the film unraveling the clues and the ending comes as rather a surprise.
It seems long and plodding at times. The performances are professional but no more than that. The villain has a smooth voice and a face that, if it were a household appliance, would have to be an old-fashioned laundry washboard. The direction is pedestrian.
But think of the tangled plot -- poorly executed though it may be. It's classic film noir. If it weren't in color, and if Victor Mature or Glenn Ford or somebody had been the lead, and it had been shot with striking shadows and kick lights, it would be a noir exemplar.
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