Friday, May 20, 2011

Deadly Companion

(George Bloomfield, 1980)
SCTV director Bloomfield cashes in his chips by assigning utterly infinitesimal cameos to just about the entire cast of that show, along with Al Waxman, Michael Ironside, Maury Chaykin, you name it. And behind the camera is the ubiquitous Rene Verzier, who at least makes the thing look pretty good. Every once in a while there's a startling jolt of cleverness in the staging or the dialogue, although so much of the latter accrues to cocky bastard Anthony Perkins that one suspects he had a hand in the rewrite. The plot - journalist Michael Sarrazin struggles to regain his lost memory and recall who killed his wife - is inelegant, and the mideast kidnapping subplot is so useless and inexplicable that it just disappears, but there is a certain amount of attention to elementary logic. The real problem - and it's a biggie - is that, in order to (ostensibly) keep the lid on the Big Surprise at the ending, the film almost completely abandons Sarrazin and his investigative mission. Instead the movie turns into the story of his annoying architect girlfriend Susan Clark keeping a series of appointments. Since her character knows quite well what's up, the revelations don't build, the mystery angle hits the dirt and the movie becomes static and pointless. And so it doesn't matter too much whether the ending makes sense: it still pisses you off. Particularly annoying are Perkins' hopelessly perfunctory fate, and the black hole that is Sarrazin's dead wife - who cares about a 'character' that spends the totality of her screen time being strangled?

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