10 July 2005 | rsoonsa
Melodramatic, But Flaws Are Few.
Capably crafted from beginning to end, this melodrama, with alternate titles of TRICK EYES and PORTRAIT OF A JOHN, is an Italian/U.S. co-production made for television, and will please those viewers responsive to interesting cinema. Christopher Jordan (William Shatner), an aeronautical engineer, is becoming restive due to a frustrating home life with an attractive wife, Katie (Michelle Phillips), toward whom he has become sexually indifferent (increasingly problematic since he dwells upon past intimacy), and with three lively and demanding offspring. Although Jordan wishes to keep intact their 12 year marriage, he is artless and inexperienced and begins to savour the possibilities of having assignations with street walking prostitutes. His fantasies become fact, but after some close scrapes, one with venereal disease, another with a police vice sting, Jordan ceases his clandestine copulation, albeit the marital incompatibility continues. While shopping in a lingerie store to find something fetching that could repair the cracked relationship with his spouse, Chris is boldly approached by an ostensibly stringless call girl, Elaine (Cybill Shepherd). Vulnerable Christopher quickly becomes more emotionally attached to Elaine than is wise for his general welfare, and he becomes adrift between a respectable domestic existence and an affair of lust that has a potential of becoming something larger. However, Elaine might not be as agreeable a person as she initially appears to be, and Jordan finds himself spiraling into a distressed state. Eventually, due to his hidden relationship with Elaine, Chris is in danger of losing all else that is important to him, and he is forced to make desperate choices. Perfectly paced by competent director William A. Graham, the film additionally benefits from skillful acting, Shepherd a standout as an apparently conflicted lady of the evening, while Phillips earns the performing laurels here with her nuanced reading as Katie. Attention to detail is remarkable throughout, important in the development of a strong sense of realism in the face of sleazy happenings as a well-scripted story by Dennis Nemec serves as aid to Graham, providing arresting characters for Graham to deploy without serious lapses in credibility and logic. Editor Ronald Fagan seamlessly polishes the work that is set and shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, and scoring from Mark Snow is consistently appropriate. Congratulations are in order for the entire crew, as well, an exceptional impartment coming from costumer Robert Turturice who adroitly marries the very fair Shepherd with suitable apparel as shifts in her personality occur, this but one example of an unusual amount of care that is taken during the patterning of this too-little known film.