Smokescreen (1988)

R   |    |  Crime

Smokescreen (1988) Poster

An ad-agency bookkeeper (Matt Craven) follows his billboard dream-girl (Kim Cattrall) to a shady nightclub in 1950s Toronto.


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18 April 2005 | rsoonsa
| All Involved In This Production Should Be Proud.
Matt Craven plays as Gerald Price, an idealistic and romantic bookkeeper who desires to open his own advertising agency and whose obsession with a billboard cigarette model displayed opposite his place of employment leads to a meeting with her and his life, as a result, becomes radically affected due to involvement with her "social" set, composed in the main of organized crime figures. This is a splendid achievement, with Martin Lavut's direction a marvel of inventiveness as he utilizes a well-crafted script to mold a nicely wrought tale that, within its noirish mode, provides plentiful dollops of humour, romance and suspenseful melodrama. Creative cinematographic and lighting effects are utilized with ingenuity throughout, the cast responding to Lavut's able leadership with nicely developed performance from all players, notably leads Craven and Kim Cattrall as the nicotinic object of his affection; charismatic Kim Coates as a coldly unbalanced mobster; and Victor Ertmanis as a principal henchman, with acting honours going to Dean Stockwell who creates his role as gangland boss Don Dattalico only three days before beginning a nearly identical turn in Jonathan Demme's MARRIED TO THE MOB. The setting is in 1959 Toronto and the well-edited affair markedly benefits from close attention to period detail in the production/art design of Reuben Freed and decors of set designer Elinor Ross Galbraith for an effectively paced story wherein such detail is vital to maintenance of continuity. A tasteful swing and blues sound track is most appropriate for the storyline milieu, with music an integral part of a plot wherein organized underworld operations are beginning to make inroads into the vitals of a city noted at the time for its freedom from the Forces of Evil. In sum, this little known motion picture is brimful with style, wit, and valuable contributions by cast and crew, each scene offering elements of these that will hold particular interest to a cinephile. This reviewer, fearful of having suffered an attack of encomia, watched the film a second time and remains filled with astonishment that such a quality piece has been permitted to slip quietly into the Memory Hole.

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