Director Dana Lustig's quirky thriller tries to ring some changes on neo-noir conventions, and it's at least partly successful. Co-scripted by Lustig and Annette Goliti Gutierrez (the pair also collaborated on 1997's WEDDING BELL BLUES), it opens as Shawn Holloway (Selma Blair) is starting her day on a series of bad notes. Shawn is a world-class downer under the best of circumstances: She's a vision in head-to-toe black, actively cultivates dark circles under her eyes, chain-smokes and lives by the motto that if you expect the worst, you'll seldom be disappointed. But even by her gloomy standards, things are going badly. She has a fight with her married boyfriend, Mathew (D.W. Moffett), and when she calls her father for sympathy, he's too busy oohing and cooing over the new baby he's just had with his second wife (Lustig) to deal with her. Shawn's goldfish is belly up in its bowl, and it's all she can do to drag herself to the downtown bank where she works as a loan officer. The last straw is when Matthew's wife, beaming and hugely pregnant, stops by for a visit. Shawn grabs a bottle of vodka and heads for the roof, fully intending to throw herself off the edge. But even her suicide attempt is a bust: Someone spots Shawn and calls the police, who arrive just in time to unwittingly interrupt a trio of masked thugs who are holding up an armored car downstairs. One robber, Charlie (Max Beesley), escapes to the roof, rescues the profoundly ungrateful Shawn from the ledge and makes a deal: If she'll play at being his hostage now, he'll kill her later. As one of Charlie's partners (Tom Heaton) parries questions from FBI agents (Lochlyn Munro, O'Neal Compton) and the other (Brendan Fehr, of TV's Roswell) drives around with a whole lot of money in a duffel bag, Shawn and Charlie each discover that there's more to the other than was initially apparent. The film's liabilities include Lustig's excessive reliance on flashy editing, tacky special effects and a blaring alterna-rock soundtrack that's used to make the characters' thoughts and motivations painfully obvious. Among its assets are the clever premise and generally appealing performances; on the balance, it's a small film whose virtues are probably best appreciated on the small screen.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: Director Dana Lustig's quirky thriller tries to ring some changes on neo-noir conventions, and it's at least partly successful. Co-scripted by Lustig and Annette Goliti Gutierrez (the pair also collaborated on 1997's WEDDING BELL BLUES), it opens as Shawn… (more)