17 July 2000 | um_chili
I rented this movie just on the brink of a Lorazepam binge. That narcotic -- which was prescribed during a now thankfully concluded period of high-strung neurosis, but to which I occasionally return if the need arises -- has caused me to make strange and poorly-advised choices, but this selection, whether drug-induced or not, ranks among my most inspired. I saw the movie first in a near-catatonic haze, tired from the aforementioned L. and several nights of wakeful sleep. As things turned out, I was unable to leave the house for nearly a week thereafter, and because my entertainment choices were severely limited, I ended up viewing this film nearly six times over that housebound period. Each time was more exquisite than the last.
I have long been alternately bored and mildly amused by Corman-related projects, not averse to the occasional gore-and-bobbling-cleavage romp, but this film had a spark that I have never (and have never since) seen in one of that ilk. The best metaphor I can think of is tapestry -- one that seems unextraordinary at first, but when viewed at greater levels of detail reveals more. The boat-related scenes provide the best example. One might reasonably consider them mindless tripe at first glance, but as I watched the marine chase scenes over and over again, I was reminded of an intricately planned choreography, an angry and wild and violent dance, hovering just this side of rapacious ecstacy.
I'm also convinced that the plot itself is a subtle and compelling meditiation on the nascent police state that one finds in major modern metropolises. At night, I hear police helicopters and think of so many vehicle-intensive moments in Running Woman that have since insinuated themselves into my dreams and think, my god -- is this America?
Then there's Theresa Russell. Her throaty, aging sex-kitten persona has obviously bored American audiences, but I found this performance to be a sultry, sexy, salacious delight. Easily her best work since Whore.
I understand entirely the opinion of viewers who might dismiss this film as merely another boat-related action flick that hardly merits a disdainful glance on the Blockbuster rack. But to those who are interested in the movie within the movie, and the movie within that movie, and who can take the time to give this film the attention it so richly deserves, I highly recommend a closer look at what is one of the gems in Rachel Samuels' commendable oeuvre, The Running Woman.