19 September 2003 | petershelleyau
aka Mortal Fusion
The treatment by Tom Swale veers from sci-fi psychology with a person having a "memory transplant" and "short term sensory experiences", to the hunt for a serial killer known as the Rose Killer. Unfortunately, the protagonist, Washington FBI agent Callain Pearson, is played glacially by Nicolette Sheridan. Pearson is the beneficiary of the experimental transplant from brain dead witness to the killer, Marlene Wells (Stellina Rusich), since her boyfriend Arthur Lefcourt (Peter Coyote) also happens to be a neurosurgeon at Oak Park University Medical Center. The gimmick here is that Marlene behaved the femme fatale, which allows the buttoned-up Pearson to act out - smoking, dancing, and even smiling. However, the denouement reveals little connection to the identity of the killer, who conveniently has his own Freudian memory experience at the climax.
Sheridan is attractive enough to bring off the bad girl turns, and also has the skill to carry a fearful crying scene as Pearson, however her face remains closed to the camera, predetermining what it records as opposed to allowing us to read any flowering emotion.
Coyote and Stacy Keach as Pearson's superior are wasted in their supporting roles, and even Peter Outerbridge as Marlene's boyfriend artist Jack Bolinas is finally a red herring. Director Robert Iscove uses blue tints for Callain's memory, and subjective hand-held camera with the obligatory heavy breathing for the killer's POV. We get fast music for 2 chases, though Iscove does make a joke of a SWAT team's methods of entry when they are called to the Center.
Swale's teleplay features howlers such as "If I can't count on you to help me, I can't count on you". "When all else fails, sometimes the best logic is illogic". And the "classic idealisation/devaluation syndrome - he forces them to reject him to validate his stalking and attacking". Plus apparently FBI agents aren't trained in hand to hand combat, since there are 2 incidents where without a gun, they are defenceless.