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  • fmarkland323 August 2006
    Jeff Fahey stars as a sketch artist who basically takes a witness's(Drew Barrymore) details who then describes the sketch artist's wife (Sean Young) in denial about this Fahey launches his own investigation finding out secrets about his wife and her lover's shaky business ventures. Sketch Artist is actually far better than you would expect, for instance the film is downbeat and features characters who are cynical and willing to protect their own interests. Which brings us to our hero in Jeff Fahey who draws the picture wrong because he wants to keep his wife from being suspect. In real life things like this are not black and white, although people tend to find these antics unlikable it goes without saying that it gives more reality and dimension to a story that could be easily routine and transparent. While the story itself is routine, the story's downbeat angle and film noir style make this an interesting effort. A better than average TV movie if there ever was one.

    * * * out of 4-(Good)
  • This straight-to-video movie was obviously made after the "neo-noir" revival that began in late 80'd/early 90's with films like "The Grifters" and "After Dark My Sweet", but before the advent of the "erotic thriller" ushered in by the success of "Basic Instinct". It has less eroticism than your typical "erotic thriller" (although it does start out with an acrobatic sex scene involving British beauty Charlotte Lewis), and like a lot of the low-budget "neo-noirs" of the era it has way too much sun-drenched LA ambiance to be very noirish. It is redeemed somewhat, however, by the interesting cast.

    Jeff Fahey plays a sketch artist who, while sketching a murder suspect with a witness (Drew Barrymore), realizes the killer might be his own wife (Sean Young). He changes the sketch and inadvertently draws another woman he encountered near the murder scene (Stacy Haiduk), implicating her in the murder. Then he finds himself implicated as well when the witness turns up dead. After that though, the movie falls on the old cliché of the suspect investigating the crime to clear his own name. And the ending is pretty predictable.

    Fahey is a talented actor who makes his underdeveloped, blow-dried character a lot more likable than he ought to be. Sean Young is an interesting actress who was done in more by her own real-life erratic behavior than any lack of talent. She's pretty good, but doesn't have a lot of screen time. Drew Barrymore is, of course, a big star now, but this movie came at a really awkward point in her career between her child acting years and her "lethal loilta" career-revival period when she appeared in "Poison Ivy" and as teen prostitute/would-be assassin Amy Fisher in "The Amy Fisher Story". Both she and Stacy Haiduk (from "Luther the Greek") play surprisingly functional (and non-erotic) roles, but still it is unusual to see an actor of that caliber in a supporting role in a film like this. Charlotte Lewis wasn't much of an actress, but nobody ever seemed to complain too much, and she too has a relatively small role as a prostitute. Rounding out the cast is memorable character actor as a police lieutenant. This is certainly not good, but the interesting cast prevents it from being a total waste of time. . .
  • smatysia1 May 2000
    Could have done a better film with this premise. The first two thirds of the movie, where it was much more of a psychological story was much better than the denouement where some small amount of action was attempted. Jeff Fahey's performance was consistently good. It's good to see an actor who doesn't look like such a pretty boy. Sean Young was good at the beginning, but by the end, she had given in to the script.
  • Daisy (Drew Barrymore) encounters a woman on her delivery. Sketch artist Jack Whitfield (Jeff Fahey) helps Daisy recover the woman's face who is suspected have killed Tommy Silvers. He is shocked to see the resemblance to his wife Rayanne (Sean Young). He changes the picture before handing it in to Lieutenant Tonelli. There is strain in his marriage and he wonders if she has something on the side. As his fake sketch leads to a suspect, he starts investigating on his own. He is shocked again to find out Rayanne is working for Silvers.

    This needs much more intensity. The idea of a thriller centering on the police sketch artist is interesting. The movie sets it up pretty well. It needs more Barrymore as the damsel in distress. The movie falls flat as Fahey is left to his own device. The premise may be good but it's a long slow downhill slide in this non-thrilling thriller.
  • tedg28 October 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    I recently rewatched this, not remembering it kindly. But I actually liked it when seen recently. Sean Young is redheaded, a photographer. Her husband is the police sketch artist of the title. There is a murder which involves the fashion industry.

    A great many elements of this are dull, formulaic. But there is some very nice shaping here. Our noir narrator does not narrate in the conventional sense, but through the image. Actually, it is only one image, but we invest a great deal in it early in the movie. A witness played by Drew Barrymore when she competently specialized in these characters, describes the murderer and we slowly see the image of the artist's wife. We have brazenly been introduced to her, punctuated by a unique bright red hairstyle and some provocative near nudity.

    What follows is a quest to discover what is up, and toward the end to exonerate himself. Along the way, Drew's character is killed, in such a way to reveal some notable armpit hair. Pretty impressive for a TeeVee movie, that. The unraveling of the mystery is unremarkable, but that development of the image mattered. It was novel, highly cinematic and well done. Sean Young lost her bearings some time before this, but that cold confusion of self adds to the character here.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Oh yeah? You know, you might want to mention that little tidbit, I don't know, towards the beginning of the film instead of waiting for the very end. Suddenly Jeff Fahey's character is an earring designer, how convenient. And as a sketch artist, he is naturally granted complete access to the crime scene, even though he has no reason for being there. Oh, he's there to do a floor plan. Right. After forensics has been through taking thousands of photographs, suddenly the sketch artist is granted access to do a floor plan. Have they ever asked him to do a floor plan before? His car-sized partner is sent to arrest him, even though it's clearly a conflict of interest, and instead of arresting him he allows him to merrily skip around town stealing cars and looking for the extremely obvious killer, something that the incompetent detectives are somehow completely incapable of doing because they're, you know, stupid, while Jeff Fahey's character is qualified to solve the crime because he employs all of his skills as a sketch artist. Yes, it's all as dumb as it sounds, and even the payoff leaves one wanting; what is Sean Young's motivation for cheating, she could just as easily have walked out on her husband, there was no reason for her to stay with him.
  • Jeff Fahey has such alert eyes and a smudgy, insidious smile that every character he plays seems villainous; therefore, it doesn't really work to cast him as the good guy of the piece, the audience is just waiting for his character to crack and start blowing people away. Drew Barrymore, fresh off her acclaimed role as "Poison Ivy", must have done this film simply as a favor to director Phedon Papamichael (he was the cinematographer on "Ivy"); playing a character named Daisy Drew (!), she's bumped off right away, which leaves us with no one to look at but Jeff Fahey and Sean Young (who hasn't had a single subtle moment on camera since "Blade Runner"). This witless script, by Michael Angeli, concerns a police sketch artist who draws his own wife's face from a murder witness's testimony, and while that's not a bad idea for a plot, it would be much better suited to an hour-long TV series. This cable-made movie is short on inspiration (beginning with the casting) and shorter on surprises. * from ****
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One of the first things askew with Sketch Artist is the complete mismatching of Fahey and Young. The casting agent must have been on drugs to think that the brittle Young and the jacked up Fahey could have chemistry. Their love scenes are uncomfortable and unbelievable. When they embrace passionately, Young is so passive and Fahey is so unhinged, the tendency would be to fear for Young's safety if, in fact, it would be possible to fear for a character who seems so soulless and vacant. The problem is, of course, that this interpretation does not follow the plot line since Young is the one who is clearly supposed to be in control.

    Fahey's and Young's characters are alike in one way, however: both of them feel contrived. Young seems like she's just coasting on her remarkable looks. Fahey is a bundle of acting tricks: flinging his cigarettes angrily out of windows, throwing things on the floor in fits of angst and yelling (unconvincingly) angry things. When he's not throwing cigarettes, papers, or words, he's posing partially unclothed. Not that Fahey is a bad looking guy, but the presence of so many scenes--Fahey shirtless, partially shirtless, walking around in his underwear, or dressing--is pandering, and so annoying.

    The plot was as unbelievable as the characters. There are multiple instances of the narrative not supporting the characters' actions, improbability (for example, another poster here pointed out that Fahey steals a car and never gets caught--even has a police car pass him without repercussion. He also breaks into multi-million dollar homes where there is, apparently, no security) and predictability. Drew Barrymore was wasted in a role that required her to stumble through an indifferent witness description and play dead (interesting that her armpits are notably unshaven. How quirky is that?).

    On a positive note, there are some pleasant surprises. Fahey's car doesn't ever start so he's always bumming rides. There's a delightful (yet unfulfilling) scene where Jack questions a woman (Stacy Haiduk?) in her home and she shares her last can of beer with him by pouring part of it into a china cup.

    Throughout this movie I kept thinking, "Someone is hoping to get a sequel out of this." I was right because three years later, the sequel to this squealer appeared--Sketch Artist 2: Hands That See.

    All in all, not a horrible film, for a TV movie, but not a good one. It has a few redeeming moments and is enjoyable for the horrible clothing if nothing else.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    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.
  • guilfisher-126 October 2006
    I found this 1992 TV movie not only irritating but a waste of two good talents. What a waste to see Sean Young in a thankless role and Drew Barrymore seen only in a few clips. Both ladies, high on my list of good actresses, were seen only in a few scenes. And those scenes gave them nothing to do. Instead we're forced to watch Jeff Fahey play a role that got more irritating as it went along. If he chain smoked in another scene I was going to scream. With hair from the 70s, unshaven, unkempt and generally looking as seedy as you can get, you wondered what Sean saw in this loser. In life he'd never get away with what he does in this film. Stealing a car, as a detective, even having a police car pass him on the road and not getting stopped. I won't bother you with all the flaws of this movie. It was written by Michael Angeli and directed by Phedon Papamichael. So I give this loser 2 stars for the 2 ladies wasted in a bad bad movie.
  • The stage curtains open ...

    This film just recently popped up on my radar, and seeing the cast, I decided to give it a try. It came out in 1992, but I just watched it for the first time a few nights ago. Better late than never, right? I came away from it feeling pretty good. It is your better-than-average thriller with an interesting concept and decent acting.

    "Sketch Artist" is centered around Jack Whitfield (Jeff Fahey), a sketch artist who works for the police department who, based off of a witness description, is able to draw a likeness of persons of interest. But, when Daisy (Drew Barrymore in an early role), gives him the description of a person she saw leaving the scene of a murder, the image on the paper he is drawing is that of his wife (Sean Young). His marriage is already on the rocks, and even though he wants to save it, he can't help but wonder if she was really there. So, he changes the likeness, and begins his own investigation which leads to film's final revelation.

    I actually really enjoyed watching this hidden gem. The acting was done convincingly by everyone involved. I felt that Jeff Fahey handled his role well as the conflicted police officer and tormented husband. Drew Barrymore would obviously go on to bigger and better things, but it was fun to see her in an early supportive role. The suspense wasn't overdone, and the story was easy to follow. There weren't many red herrings here, but there is enough doubt thrown in to keep you guessing until the final reveal.

    I would recommend this one, and I would watch it again. It is indicative of your early 90's thriller film fare. I personally love that era of movies and this one hold's its own just fine against the movies of that time. This is a solid 7 stars out of 10. I'm glad I discovered it.
  • Sketch Artist is a rare and hard to find TV movie that is vastly under rated. Jeff Fahey plays the lead role and turns in a solid performance (even sporting his epic mullet and smoking a LOT of cigarettes). There are some fine supporting actors like Drew Barrymore, Sean Young, and Charlotte Lewis. The film plays like a big budget sex thriller and keeps the suspense and double crosses high. Its one of the better thrillers I've seen recently. Another good flick to check out is Past Midnight with Rutger Hauer. Added to the queue and enjoy. Great soundtrack as well. The sequel ("hands that see death") isn't as enjoyable but is competently made.
  • "Sketch Artist" feels like just about everyone involved in making the movie - the actors, director, and writer - has the life sucked out of them before filming started. To begin with, take the title character, played by Jeff Fahey. There is no particular reason why we feel we should get involved in his plight. He is almost completely without emotion or passion, his appearance is sloppy, he makes some pretty dumb decisions, and his investigation of the mystery is done incredibly slowly, like he just doesn't care about what could happen to him. The director didn't seem to care about his character as well. There's no feeling of tension or panic anywhere in the movie, and the climax has the impact of a wet noodle hitting the ground.

    I will admit that Drew Barrymore, in a limited role, does give a surprisingly decent performance. And it's always fun to see bald-headed actor James Tolkan play another authority figure, though his role is limited as well. But neither actor is given enough to make the movie worth watching.
  • Uriah4314 October 2014
    "Jack Whitfield" (Jeff Fahey) is a sketch artist who works for the Los Angeles Police Department and has been instructed to draw the image of a possible murder suspect as described by a witness named "Daisy" (Drew Barrymore). To his horror he then draws a picture of his wife, "Rayanne Whitfield" (Sean Young). Not wanting to implicate her he hurriedly draws another picture of a person he had just met named "Claire" (Stacy Haiduk) and presents it to his boss, "Tonelli" (James Tolkan). A little later Daisy is killed and Jack becomes a murder suspect as well. Now, rather than reveal any more of this film and risk ruining it for those who haven't seen it I will just say that although some scenes were a bit unrealistic I still enjoyed it for the most part. I liked the performance of Jeff Fahey and I thought Sean Young definitely added some heat. All in all then, I rate this movie as slightly above average.