5 September 2007 | rsoonsa
Protagonist's Behaviour, Seemingly Based Upon Hubris, Leads In Dispiriting Fashion To Inevitable Nemesis.
County Galway, Eire, is a striking substitute for Maine in this virtually incomprehensible Roger Corman produced film that would have more perceptibly profited from substitutions for the script and from among the cast and crew, although even a complete overhaul of the production would possibly yet find the work lacking in the matter of viewer gratification. An attorney, John Burnside (Robert Carradine), disembarks from a small commercial aircraft at a semi-rural Maine location where he by chance picks up luggage belonging to another passenger, Stella Crosby (Rebecca Staab), who then invites him to the home of her and her absent (for the entire picture) spouse Tom, at which a party is being held during the evening of the same day. Burnside is lured from the residence and abducted by thugs who obviously have assumed that ill-starred John is in fact Tom Crosby, the latter along with Stella owing the kidnappers two million dollars from shared money laundering activity that has plainly eschewed any aspect of honour among thieves. By dint of less than plausible derring-do, Burnside evades his bent-upon-torture abductors, and makes his way back to the Crosby house, where he endeavours through a wan attempt at intimidation, to discover from a vixenish Stella an explanation to account for his recent misadventure; however, she instead takes him to her bed, disappearing the next day, only to soon reappear, and then again disappear, and so forth, all while the frustrated mentioned ruffians flounder about in search of her and her perplexed lover. As might be expected, Carradine makes for a weightless and generally torpid hero, seemingly incapable of ditching his native penchant for mumbling his lines. Top-billed Fred Dryer, meanwhile, barely is seen, and we are not advised as to what might be his function within the storyline. Nonetheless, the film contains effective moments, although connections between scenes are consistently absent. A viewer will approve of the inventive camera-work by Jules LaBarthe, so creative that the beginning pages of the film are absorbing because of it. However, turning the coin, sound reproduction is substandard throughout, a good deal of dialogue being but faintly heard as a consequence, with an overly loud score by Arthur Kempel, arresting in itself, often simply drowning out voices. Playing by a largely Irish based supporting cast is uneven in quality, although never lacking in effort. The most troublesome aspect of the piece stems from a script wherein motivation, indeed the very actions of the characters, have no sense to them at all, especially evident through the role of Burnside, who seems, as interpreted by Carradine, to be imbued with embryonic imbecility.