In the dead calm of the desert, a storm is raging
Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 08/28/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Director Yuri Zeltser's thriller begins well, with an opening sequence of the robbery of a desert motel, presented with little use of music, which creates tension. And the screenplay he cowrote with Michael Stewart takes an unexpected turn midway, the treatment borrowing from Psycho, with Lara Flynn Boyle placed in a world as gothic as the one Janet Leigh stumbled into. However the climax loses us, degenerating into a standard woman in peril, set against sibling rivalry, and using the hackneyed multiple resurrection device. As the sons of the Antelope Valley Easy Rest-Inn whose parents are killed in the 10 years ago beginning, Craig Sheffer and Bradley Gregg present two people as isolated from the world as Norman Bates was. Gregg was blinded in the robbery, and Sheffer is left to be the parent, though Sheffer's long hair indicates the arrested development extends to both brothers. The metaphorical storm comes via Boyle and her husband Dennis Hopper in manic mode, half funny and half cruel. The fact that Boyle and Hopper don't match up with the robbery killers (the female being Ally Walker) tells us that something is amiss, as is Boyle posed as Marilyn Monroe and a scene where Gregg attacks her in the motel's swimming pool (a nice touch for a rundown desert motel) out of rabid puberty urges. The screenplay has the occasional amusing line - Boyle says to Gregg "Stop checking me out and check me in", Sheffer to Gregg "Wake up and smell the rabbit dung", and Hopper's "We're God's grass. We burn and he gets high". I also like how the "cool" sunglasses Sheffer wears 10 years ago become the blind glasses Gregg wears 10 years later. Zeltner cuts from Hopper kissing Boyle's thigh to Sheffer hugging Gregg, and cuts from Gregg's hand in a jewellery box to Boyle's hand in hers, from which she pulls out a gun. I was sorry to see how the shift in plot meant we lose Hopper, and I could have done without Sheffer's long hair loose as a lion's mane in the climactic storm. However Sheffer handles the aging of his character well, and I liked his imitation of pain upon seeing someone stabbed in the stomach."
A terrific thriller
Kevin Raft | Boston, USA | 03/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"a beautifully made movie, with terrific plot twists, strong acting and writing. very entertaining"