Maddeningly, TWO SMALL BODIES keeps dissolving back to its basic confrontation between grizzled detective and guilty-looking suspect. The dubious conceit of this piece, which is little more than a straight filming of a two-character play, is to present the same scene over and over again,
ringing enough changes each time to suggest some kind of reflexive sophistication.
Veteran investigator Lt. Brann (Fred Ward) resolves to break down the icy reserve of a mother, Eileen Mahoney (Suzy Amis), whose two small children have disappeared from home without a trace. Promiscuous Eileen, who works as a hostess in a strip bar, is hardly a candidate for mother of the year.
Although her sexual involvement with a local alderman, McWhirter, puts some pressure on cops to lay off, Brann flouts official policy by dropping in on Eileen at random. He attempts to intimidate her with Gestapo-like interrogations, but can't shake her story; over time, the two become involved in
a perversely symbiotic emotional relationship. When Eileen taunts Brann by revealing that she has been spying on his not-so-happy homelife, he's unsettled by the table-turning. The lieutenant finally breaks down and imparts the identity of the real killer, a drifter who lured the children from
their bedroom window; letting her off the hook any sooner would have meant admitting his mistake and ending their relationship. At the close, Brann and Eileen are locked in a pleasureless dance, unable to break free of their love-hate entanglement.
Anyone who's been waiting for an Americanized revamp of THE NIGHT PORTER can consider this arty, flatulent exploration of sado-masochism a reasonable equivalent. Stagy and pretentious, TWO SMALL BODIES slings metaphors with abandon while pushing its hapless actors into a harsh spotlight. Ward,
ordinarily a charismatic performer, struts around improbably in his underwear and mopes about because he loathes himself for desiring his adversary, while Amis drifts along on a dull plateau of booze-soaked anomie. Both appear to be doing the best they can with an exceptionally bad script; indeed,
rarely in cinematic history has so explosive a topic been addressed so vacuously. (Violence, extreme profanity, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: Maddeningly, TWO SMALL BODIES keeps dissolving back to its basic confrontation between grizzled detective and guilty-looking suspect. The dubious conceit of this piece, which is little more than a straight filming of a two-character play, is to present the… (more)