Until its obligatory final air-sea chase, TEMPTATION is a competently claustrophobic thriller, set aboard a disabled pleasure vessel adrift in the Caribbean. This dissection of the ways of the randy rich makes the most of its closed world, and delivers the kind of tension rarely found in
direct-to-video genre fare.
Salvage shipyard owner Eddie Lanarsky (Jeff Fahey) reluctantly agrees to an arson scam cooked up by his wealthy partner Michael Reddick (Philip Casnoff). As Lanarsky sets the propane tanks to blow, Reddick makes his way back to the black-tie dinner which will serve as his alibi. As he leaves,
however, Reddick cuts the escape rope, leaving Lanarsky to weather the blast and take the fall. Ten years later, the newly-released Lanarsky and prison pal Bone Babancourt (David Keith) are casing a private yacht named the Leeward, monitoring the comings and goings of Nikki Dufour (Patricia
Durham), a vixenish looker who invites them aboard with the hint of some kind of impromptu sex play. Once on the Leeward, they learn that Nikki's "special" friend, Lee Reddick (Alison Doody), is threatening to cancel the cruise because the skipper has failed to show. Lanarsky and first mate Bone
volunteer to help, and the jobs are clinched for them when Lanarsky troubleshoots the engine room and realizes somebody has been scrimping on grade-A fuel and regular maintenance. Seconds before sailing, Michael Reddick, Lee's scoundrel husband, boards as well.
With Lanarsky out of sight on the bridge, the unsuspecting Reddick has it out with his wife, whose money he has largely squandered. Meanwhile, Nikki, who may or may not be sleeping with any or all of the above, indulges in chemical recreation below decks. The closer they come to their next
Caribbean port of call, the nuttier Reddick becomes, even beating his wife at one point. When the original captain is found on ice, it's clear that somebody's master plan is unraveling. But Reddick manages to radio ahead and claim that Lanarsky is a madman terrorizing the ship; once ashore,
Lanarsky is arrested by the duped Carribean constabulary. After a high-speed chase involving a stolen motorboat, Lanarsky and Lee manage to pin the blame back on Reddick and Nikki, whom they finger as his willing accomplice.
At times crossing headings with Polanski's KNIFE IN THE WATER, TEMPTATION'S plot comes closer to Orson Welles' unfinished THE DEEP, which was adapted from the same source novel as the Australian supenser DEAD CALM (1989). As in that story, a brooding dread mixes with the nautical equivalent of
cabin fever, whipping up an emotional confection with the predictable results. This De Laurentiis production was filmed in the Cayman Islands with a largely Australian cast, suggesting an intricate international co-production deal. (Violence, nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, substanceabuse, profanity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: Until its obligatory final air-sea chase, TEMPTATION is a competently claustrophobic thriller, set aboard a disabled pleasure vessel adrift in the Caribbean. This dissection of the ways of the randy rich makes the most of its closed world, and delivers the… (more)