Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Karen Allen, Jay Brazeau, Virginia Capers, Bernie Casey, Leslie Ewen
Genres: Drama, Military & War
A 3-and-one-half star edge-of-the-chair thriller
jammer | Laramie, Wyoming United States | 10/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This UK-based ITC Productions 93-minute 1987 film fits comfortably in the same genre as "Above Suspicion" (Christopher Reeve), "Murder by Natural Causes" (Hal Holbrook), and "Death Trap" (Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine): not strictly murder mysteries, but close.
Non-working Donny (Jeff Fahey) isolates himself on a small Pacific-northwest island in an elaborate mansion inherited with sister Jill (Dinah Manoff) from the estate of their late rich parents. He is having terrible, repetitive flashback dreams of his Vietnam battlefield experiences which spill over into his waking hours. He also obsesses that wife Mara (Karen Allen) has unwholesome side interests in old flame Jake (Dean Paul Martin) - perhaps also part of Donny's post-traumatic stresses? Enterprising and money-conscious Mara, a local timber mill manager from the more deprived side of the social tracks, thinks Donny's mental state is deteriorating and attempts to deal with the situation as she deems best. Enter mysterious stranger Reed (Keith Carridine) who seems ready to fill any gaps that may develop; followed by Clinton James (Bernie Casey, Martian Chronicles' Spender) as the suspicious, nosy sheriff who gets involved when Jake disappears and things start snapping.
This tidy thriller has an engagingly convoluted plot; surprises even for the jaded; good British Columbia cinematography; fine acting and direction; realistic dialog; and a fairly good script (but with better reasons available, why did Mara return home during the night just because no one answered the phone?) With some ambiguities, this film is untainted by obvious Hollywood-style plot meddling, gratuitous sex and gore, and juvenility.
Originally filmed in Panavision, the unfortunate aspect ratio of this DVD is 4x3, though (remaining) picture and sound are fine. Hardly a profound masterpiece, but for the price, this entertaining film is nevertheless a pretty good buy.
jammer | 01/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For anyone who enjoys a solid mystery with good, interesting characters, Backfire is the movie. Seemingly missed among mainstream movies, this one is a breath of fresh air when compared to the many lackluster, computerized movies Hollywood seems to produce today. Excellent movie with surprising ending."