Its title may suggest an exploitative B-movie thriller, but SKETCH ARTIST II: HANDS THAT SEE is an imaginative crime drama featuring strong lead performances and polished production values. It originally aired on the Showtime cable network in 1995.
College teacher Emmy O'Conner (Courteney Cox) is the latest victim of a serial stalker who has been raping and murdering young women. The arrival of Emmy's husband Glenn (Jonathan Silverman) during the crime saves Emmy's life. As the killer's sole surviving victim, Emmy is the only witness to his
identity. But her ability to identify her attacker is doubted by police investigators because Emmy is blind.
Emmy felt her attacker's face during the rape and describes him to sketch artist Jack Whitfield (Jeff Fahey). At first skeptical of Emmy's ability, Jack gains confidence when she accurately describes Jack himself--including his hair color. When his sketch is released to the media, Jack fears that
Emmy is in danger. He races to her classroom, arriving in time to save her from the killer, who has returned to silence her.
The police apprehend a suspect, Tim Rothko (Michael Nicolosi), who matches Emmy's description. Emmy picks Rothko out of a line-up by touch. Emmy does not want to go through the trauma of a trial, knowing that the case against Rothko is weak, even with her testimony. Rothko hires a powerhouse
attorney (Brion James) who tears holes in the prosecution's case. As all the evidence against Rothko is circumstantial, it appears he will be set free. Jack finally persuades Emmy to take the stand, and stages an experiment to convince the jury of the veracity of her claims. With Jack sequestered
in another room, a stranger is brought in off the street, and Emmy feels his face for thirty seconds. She then describes the man for Jack, who sketches a startlingly accurate rendering. His guilt confirmed, Rothko lunges at Emmy but is restrained. Rothko is convicted and Emmy thanks Jack for
helping her to regain control of her life.
Reprising his role from the 1992 feature SKETCH ARTIST, Fahey turns in an effective performance. Cox, star of the hit TV series "Friends", convincingly portrays the blind woman. She invests her character with the proper mix of fear, vulnerability, and determination. Together, Cox and Fahey make a
good team. The script hints at a mutual attraction but it is unexplored.
Silverman is adequate as Emmy's seldom-present husband, and James is slick as a cunning lawyer. Only Nicolosi, as the killer, is ineffectual. A more menacing villain would have heightened the suspense factor. The story's overall effectiveness is impeded by a few weak moments which strain
credibility. The final third has little suspense, but the courtroom theatrics are intriguing and the outcome is satisfying.(Violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: Its title may suggest an exploitative B-movie thriller, but SKETCH ARTIST II: HANDS THAT SEE is an imaginative crime drama featuring strong lead performances and polished production values. It originally aired on the Showtime cable network in 1995. Colleg… (more)