Ray Liotta and Linda Fiorentino are two fine actors who seem right together, but this sloppy noir pastiche defeats its charismatic stars with weak plotting and direction.
Dr. David Krane (Ray Liotta) is a forensic pathologist who works closely with the Seattle Police Department. David has lived under a cloud of suspicion since the brutal murder of his wife, Mary. Accused of the crime, he was released on a technicality, but many, including Mary's sister, Kelly (Kim
Cattrall), who has temporary custody of David's children, still believe he is a murderer.
To clear his name and figure out who really killed his wife, David becomes acquainted with Dr. Martha Briggs (Linda Fiorentino), a pioneering neurobiologist who has been experimenting with memory transfer in rats. Linda has discovered that profound memories are stored in the cerebral spinal fluid,
and has developed a formula that can retrieve these events. David volunteers to be Linda's human guinea pig for this potentially dangerous experiment, but Linda refuses for fear of damaging David's heart.
Nevertheless, David steals the formula and injects himself with Mary's memories. By reliving her slaying, David thinks he has discovered her killer, a street thug named Michael Stratton (Duncan Fraser), but later he realizes that the story of his wife's murder is much more complicated. Feeling
increasingly sympathetic, Linda helps David by monitoring her "patient" as he activates more sordid memories.
Finally, together, David and Linda narrow down the list of suspects to one of David's colleagues on the police force who was having an affair with Mary--either Detective Stewart Gleick (Christopher McDonald), the coroner Curtis Avery (David Paymer), or David's boss, Detective Don Bresler (Peter
Coyote). By returning to the scene of the crime in his old house, David figures out that Mary was having an affair with his corrupt boss, Det. Bresler, who killed her to cover up their clandestine activities. When Bresler arrives at the house to kill David as well, the men engage in a fierce
battle. Ultimately, David loses the fight, but his death allows him to be reunited with his wife in the hereafter.
The chief trouble with UNFORGETTABLE lies with Bill Geddie's hole-ridden screenplay, which jumbles together bits and pieces from several old and new noir thrillers, including the doctor-patient mystery melodrama from SPELLBOUND (1945), and the
falsely-accused-doctor-clearing-his-name-in-his-wife's-murder scenario from THE FUGITIVE (1993). Even the "flashback" gimmick (which seems farfetched in this realistic milieu) puts a pharmacological twist on the virtual reality device in STRANGE DAYS. Over-hyped 'B' director John Dahl (RED ROCK
WEST, THE LAST SEDUCTION) tries distracting viewers from the familiar plot and characters with these quickly-cut, sometimes confusing flashbacks, but they become annoying and repetitious after a while (technically, the film isn't very accomplished, either).
The only reasons to watch UNFORGETTABLE are Liotta and Fiorentino. Liotta makes his doomed hero's obsessive quest almost believable, while Fiorentino does as much as she can with the underwritten role of the scientist sidekick. Fiorentino even gives the film its very few moments of humor, although
her character is a weak sister next to her LAST SEDUCTION femme fatale, and, of course, Dahl still finds a way to photograph Fiorentino in underwear and high heels. Nevertheless, UNFORGETTABLE depends too much upon its stars to carry it off. Hollywood should realize by now that Liotta and
Fiorentino deserve better than a rehash of old movie cliches. (Violence, adult situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Ray Liotta and Linda Fiorentino are two fine actors who seem right together, but this sloppy noir pastiche defeats its charismatic stars with weak plotting and direction. Dr. David Krane (Ray Liotta) is a forensic pathologist who works closely with the Se… (more)