The Woman Chaser

A lunatic variation on GET SHORTY's vision of Hollywood sociopaths getting trounced at their own game, Robinson Devors's feature debut is gorgeous but seriously unsatisfying. Set in 1950s Los Angeles, the film revolves around Richard Hudson (Patrick Warburton), a used car salesman with a shady past and flexible ethics. Having spent some time in San Francisco,...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A lunatic variation on GET SHORTY's vision of Hollywood sociopaths getting trounced at their own game, Robinson Devors's feature debut is gorgeous but seriously unsatisfying. Set in 1950s Los Angeles, the film revolves around Richard Hudson (Patrick

Warburton), a used car salesman with a shady past and flexible ethics. Having spent some time in San Francisco, he blows back into L.A., muscles his way onto a failing lot and moves back in with his mother, a faded ballerina (Lynette Bennett), and her husband, small-time movie director Leo (Paul

Malevitz), who hasn't worked in years. Hudson terrorizes his staff, rakes in bucks and shows surprisingly little interest in women other than his mother (surprising given the title) before having a revelation: He wants to make art so his life will have meaning. Hudson can't write or paint or

sculpt, so he'll make a movie, a bleak slice of pulp life called "The Man Who Got Away" in which a nondescript truck driver gets his 15 minutes of notoriety by running down a little girl. Based on a novel by genre writer Charles Williford (Cockfighter, Miami Blues) and adapted by the

author himself, Devors's film is neither pure pulp nor pure parody; it does the nudge-nudge, wink-wink when it should be giving you goose bumps, and gets creepy when it's trying to be funny. Shot under guerilla circumstances while Devors, a former copywriter and publicist, was still working his

day job, it's a triumph of determination over circumstance. And it's stunningly beautiful, its glistening black-and-white images (it was actually shot in color, then printed in B&W) carefully framed to evoke a bygone noir Los Angeles. Warburton's fleshy, swaggering performance is arresting, but in

the end the film doesn't amount to anything more than a handsome trifle.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A lunatic variation on GET SHORTY's vision of Hollywood sociopaths getting trounced at their own game, Robinson Devors's feature debut is gorgeous but seriously unsatisfying. Set in 1950s Los Angeles, the film revolves around Richard Hudson (Patrick Warbu… (more)

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