jammer | Laramie, Wyoming United States | 02/20/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"2½-to-3 stars would be more accurate, depending on personal likes and dislikes. John Nolan (Jeff Goldblum) has the apparent misfortune of being in Tony's Deli (to buy a bottle of wine) when a hold-up occurs. Physically he is unscathed, but a recently hired store assistant, Augie Rose, is killed by the assailant, practically dying in Nolan's arms with the words "John, it'll be OK". Mentally injured and haunted by these events, and disturbed by the callousness and inability of the police department to make proper arrangements for a funeral and the personal effects of Rose, Nolan pursues the matter himself. He learns that Rose spent 20 years in prison for armed robbery, aggravated by a history of previous petty crimes, has no next of kin, and was released from prison three weeks ago. By signing as a brother, he gets the personal effects no one else wants. Thus he finds the apartment. And so the involvement cascades. With each discovery, Nolan entangles himself ever deeper in the web of Rose's prior life.This film is not a crime story about bringing a murderous assailant to justice; that's not even part of the script. The Tony's Deli incident merely sets in motion what becomes a psychological obsession ("Suspicion" is a misnomer!) in a willing individual and the consequences thereof. Nolan has the option on several occasions of withdrawing from this obsession, but he deliberately chooses to go completely overboard in the opposite direction.Aside from the necessity of having a plot for this film, why would the Nolan character have this obsession and be so willing to abandon his cushy life style? There are some good answers presented here: a personal feeling of guilt that he was in some fateful way responsible (After all, if he had accepted the bottle of wine as is and left immediately, the incident likely would have been nothing more than a routine street-punk robbery.); a deep sense of injustice relative to the mindless consequences of this random killing and his desire to mitigate it if he can; a cooling of ardor toward his housemate Carol, whom he has been dating for 6 years but never married; the dull grind of the life insurance business; a life where importance is measured by whether or not a wine bottle's label is scratched (and how fate hangs in the balance on that trivial detail!); an existentialist mindset where there is no longer meaning or purpose in his middle-aged life, with little more to achieve beyond marriage, a house in the suburbs, a flashy Volvo, and monetary independence. Perhaps he sees in the deceased a way to escape his own human predicament: engagement.Goldblum's acting ability is particularly well suited to this type of role, which is strongly reminiscent of that in "Into the Night". In both films, his character becomes disenfranchised from the daily grind and departs to greener pastures, getting in way over his head in the process. Those who enjoyed one film will likely enjoy the other. The 1.85-1.00 picture is crisp with good color and detail. The Dolby 5.1 Stereo Surround track is fine. The DVD keep-case is good. There are minor extras of little consequence."
Mosby Barley | Trenton-Georgia | 06/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jeff Goldblum is a successful CEO of a large life-insurance company who apparently has everything he wants, until he has a near-death encounter in the midst of a liquor store robbery. When the clerk is shot and killed, and Goldblum is unharmed, he begins to have a lot of questions about life and who this stranger (who turns out to be an ex-con) was that died whom no one seems to care about. As he delves deeper into the man's background and identity, he encounters unexpected complications and danger to his own life, all the time getting closer to the truth: what he really wants. A riveting story that deals with those who have been in prison, and how society treats them when they get out."