Not to be confused with the superior 1965 Gregory Peck vehicle, this ditzy action thriller rips off VERTIGO (1958) and proves once again that the direct-to-video market could not exist without the oeuvre of Alfred Hitchcock.
After his failure of nerve results in a hostage's death, ex-cop Matteo Juarez (Edward James Olmos) drowns his guilt in alcohol. When a former crony, Lt. Randazzo (James Andronica) hands him a kindergarten-level surveillance job, he accepts the job reluctantly. A rich philanthropist, Donald Gale
(P.W. Williams), needs someone to keep tabs on his wife, Jennifer (Sean Young), who suffers from multiple personality disorder. In the course of his duties, Matteo falls for Jennifer--but not for her slutty alter-ego, exotic dancer Shannon.
When he hears that Shannon has been taken hostage by one of her lovers, Matteo races to the scene. But his nerve fails him again, and he collapses in a useless heap--exactly as planned by Randazzo and a financially troubled Gale, who have engineered an insurance scam in which a double for
Jennifer/Shannon (Patricia Sill) is slated to die. The shattered Matteo catches on when he spots Jennifer in another personality, as an Irish barmaid. Jennifer can't forget Matteo, and when Gale tries to reclaim his errant mate, the principals duke it out. During the fight, Randazzo dies in a
fall. Jennifer encourages Matteo to kill Gale so that the two of them can split the insurance money and honeymoon in Costa Rica. Matteo kills Gale, but ponders whether to turn in Jennifer or to reap the rewards of her crime with her.
Confusion, thy name is MIRAGE, which has a climax forever muddied by doubts about how much Jennifer knew about the murder of two innocent bystanders in her husband's plot. While one might forgive its flighty use of mental illness as a plot device, it's less easy to forgive an overload of
happenstance that short-circuits the entire film. This dishwatery script by co-star Andronica becomes wholly unfathomable in the hands of a director who mistakes flash for style. Grasping at straws, one can surmise that Young is only playing at being a dual personality in order to appeal to Olmos'
salvation complex, but it's never entirely clear. Although stone-faced Olmos equates alcoholic dissolution with a Buster Keaton paralysis of the facial muscles, and the generic supporting players seemed to have been borrowed wholesale from a lackluster talent agency, Young is memorably,
aggressively bad and at least saves the movie for camp lovers. A likable presence, Young may not be Duse but she has spunk and she's the only reason to watch this exercise in confusion. (Graphic violence, sexual situations, substance abuse, extreme profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: Not to be confused with the superior 1965 Gregory Peck vehicle, this ditzy action thriller rips off VERTIGO (1958) and proves once again that the direct-to-video market could not exist without the oeuvre of Alfred Hitchcock. After his failure of nerve res… (more)