6 March 2005 | rsoonsa
The Walls Surrounding Her Past Tumble.
In cinema, the Theatre of Paranoia genre contains an extensive suborder - Women With Hidden Pasts, an example of which is found here with a well-mounted work that must be placed near the top of that list. In this tale of separate selves, Catherine Mary Stewart plays as Ann Carver, a successful art dealer in Salt Lake City, happily married for nine years to Michael (Scott Valentine), equally successful as an architect, with two children as fruit of their union. However, Annie finds that remaining in front of her past existence is in jeopardy due to an appearance by a bounty hunter who is aspiring after a reward for her exposure as the suspect at large in a ten-year-old New York City murder case. The pursuer, Charles Ingall (Dennis Farina) has been hired by Lev Petrovich (Carsten Norgaard), a Russian crime syndicate boss, Annie's lover at the time of the homicide, who is still in love with her. Lev is advised of her possible location by one of her employees who thinks he recognizes Ann while watching a television crime documentary, but under her quondam name of Natalie Kovacs. Although Lev is financing the search by Ingall, the latter plays an apostate game by blackmailing Annie with an offer of failing to tell Petrovich of her whereabouts in consideration of a $100,000 payoff. During her efforts to keep knowledge of these events from Michael and their children, Annie must go to extremes to raise the requisite cash. Annie, despite her innocence of the crime for which she is in hiding, must soon deal with a meshing of two lives when Lev confronts her, leading to a melodramatic climax. All members of the cast perform well with acting bays going to Farina who obviously enjoys his part as the contemptible blackmailer. Absorbing from its beginning, the film enjoys first-class production values, while the capable direction of Stuart Cooper permits the talented players to enlarge upon their roles.