"I'm always running to the place where the bad thing just happened, arriving just after the danger has passed, watching from a safe distance, searching for an angle, that little wrinkle, the kick to the heart that makes you want to put down the dollar and pick up the paper."
After seeing two not so good films with Adrien Brody ("Backtrack" and "American Heist") I noticed that sad look of him on the cover of "Manhattan Night". It might sound weird, but every time I see Brody's facial expression on a cover, at once a sense of gloom and sadness overtakes me. Examine once again the cover from "Backtrack" and that of, lets say, "Wrecked". Every time you see a person filled with melancholy. With those sad puppy eyes and a grim facial expression. He stares at you with a helpless and beseeching look. The man exudes melancholy.
Despite his distinctive physical traits, he reminded me of Jake Gyllenhaal hunting for sensational news in "Nightcrawler". The same profession, the same eagerness and the same melancholy look. The only major difference is that Porter Wren already had his victory moment in the past when a young girl was found after his journalistic work. Hence, he still takes care of a daily column in the New York Daily News. Even though the new owner of this newspaper isn't very enthusiastic about it. At first you might say that Porter is a boring and rational person. But then again, he hasn't taken Caroline Crowley (Yvonne Strahovski) into account. The moment he sees her at a party, he's lost and he becomes entangled in the seductive web of this blond vamp. Caroline's interest in Porter is also of a practical nature. She wants to use Porter's "Sherlock Holmes" skills to investigate the suspicious death of her husband Simon Crowley (Campbell Scott).
You'll experience something similar like "Basic Instinct" with Brody acting as a sort of Poirot who's persistent in solving a case. In addition, he has to deal with a case of extortion, so the whole thing gets even more complicated. A story full of intrigue and erotically charged scenes. Brody's daily column is about other people's misery. It looks like he's becoming the main character in such a column. Although all my attention should be drawn to the stormy affair between Porter and Caroline and the complicated developments gripping Porter, my attention went to the rather extravagant personality of Crowley. A slightly deranged movie producer with some absurd traits. A real weirdo with a weird sense of humor. Such a person who pretends to having commit suicide after swallowing a large number of pills. And then he gets up calmly and says it was just a joke. And a highly attractive, breathtaking erotic blonde falls in love with such an eccentric who looks like a bum? Women are unfathomable and inapprehensible. But the acting of Campbell Scott was beyond dispute extremely brilliant.
All in all not a bad movie. Not bad at all. But not a high flyer either. Turn it into a black and white film and you can place it between other Hollywood classics which are shown on a pay-per-view television-channel. It won't be noticed. You can call this film stylish though. "Manhattan Night" pretends to be a neo-noir film with a mystery build into. But in the end it isn't really mysterious.
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