23 September 2005 | rsoonsa
Some Striking Production Values, But A Lack Of Required Scripting Skills.
Action opens in an operating chamber of a Berlin clinic where young and unwed Anna Richter (Nicolette Krebitz) is about to undergo abortion surgery, but she changes her mind, fleeing into a nearby hotel lobby where she faints before being ministered to by an American physician and his wife, the Michelsons, who tell her they are also expecting a child, the first of a spate of plot coincidences, some of which have intriguing potential. Carla Michelson (Marita Geraghty) is not actually pregnant, but rather living a fantasy, having become somewhat unhinged after two miscarriages and, utilizing Anna's telephone number obtained from her in Berlin, the couple contact the German woman, offering her a position as "nanny" for their non-existent baby to be, to include a pleasant lee in their Malibu home for her and her infant, Lukas. Carla and husband Derek (Matt McCoy) have devised a baroque plan to have Anna abducted and murdered in Mexico, thereby providing the Michelsons by default an instant infant, little Lukas, but while South of the Border Anna manages to escape from her would-be assassins and falls in with one Eddie Sanchez from Los Angeles who is also fleeing, and in his case from multiple sources of homicidal intent, none of which seems to be competent in the least, with a result that Anna and Eddie are able to return to a Malibu that is less than safe for either of them. For by this time, a rather bruised and bewildered au pair and her Mexican companion have discovered that their hopes for safety are waning since the California beach community offers but a dismal future for them, with the dangerous and obviously mad Michelsons at home. With no theatre distribution, being instead sent directly to video and titled DEADLY MEASURES, the film suffers from an overly complex screenplay that offers no solutions to its contained conundra, but rather gives way to Grand Guignol expedience during its hectic final scenes. It is apparent that as the direction flags, the storyboard artist assumes control with a series of violent set pieces supplanting the character development that had furnished the work with some interesting albeit less than memorable narrative. The affair is handsomely mounted and photographed, the Dolby Sound is superb, and there are fine performances from those players whom are not defeated by the substandard script, in particular Geraghty who earns acting honours with her highly effective turn as the crazed Carla, and also from McCoy, and Danny Nucci as a Mexican-American street gangster. Crisp editing is employed as means of bolstering the film's foundation of logic pertinent to the sundry subplots, but overly strong emphasis is placed upon contrivances of synchronicity and this sinks the piece, notably during its risibly crude and clichéd closing moments.