24 October 2017 | blanche-2
gritty, bizarre neo-noir
Producer-director Brian DeCubellis had done some TV movies and short films before this bigger directorial effort, the neo-noir Manhattan Nights, from 2016. He certainly has talent.
The film stars Adrien Brody as Porter Wren, a columnist for a New York newspaper. His wife (Jennifer Beals) is a surgeon, so they are able to have a darling house that is hidden down an alley in Manhattan - something like Patchin Place in the west village.
When his newspaper is taken over by a Rupert Murdock type (Steven Berkoff), Porter reluctantly attends a party for him. There he meets the beautiful Caroline (Yvonne Strahovski) whose husband, well-known director Simon Crowley (Campbell Scott) was found dead, buried under the rubble of an imploded building, surrounded by pieces of jade. The two wind up having an affair.
It seems Simon was a complete weirdo with an interesting hobby of recording "honest moments" on video cards. Caroline takes Porter to a safety deposit box with dozens of them. She invites him to watch them. But it turns out one of those honest moments is being used to blackmail someone, and the person being blackmailed wants it and begins to terrorize Porter to find it. This leads to Porter uncovering secrets about Simon, Caroline, and person being blackmailed, and learning something about himself.
The film is based on an novel called Manhattan Nocturne. I suppose the name was changed because the filmmakers thought not enough people would know what a nocturne is. That's sad. The story is good but unsavory, and, frankly, so are the characters. And it has the usual female nudity.
The acting is very good, particularly from Brody and Strahovski - she is gorgeous and reminds me of Sharon Stone when she was younger. Brody has had a so-so career since winning the Oscar. This was a good role for him. Linda Lavin has a cameo, and she's excellent.
Overall I can't say I was crazy about "Manhattan Night." It was well done but unpleasant.