Archive for the ‘Karen Black’ Category


15 Feb

Crimetime – directed by George Sluizer – Thriller. An Actor playing a serial killer is stalked by the serial killer wanting to be the actor. 118 minutes Color  1996.

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Hitchcock often made thrillers about men wrongly accused, but occasionally he made a picture about a homicidal maniac: Strangers On A Train is one, Psycho another. This picture would be perfectly suited to Hitchcock’s second category, but it lacks Hitchcock’s prime ingredient, the ability to create and sustain an ominous mood. Here, what you see is what you get; in Hitchcock what you see is what you don’t get. The result is a B picture, but one with A level performances — on the one side, Geraldine Chaplin as the blind mad wife, and on the other our own wonderful Karen Black as the dread head of production. Between them are the two major talents of Pete Postlethwaite and Stephen Baldwin. Baldwin, whom I have never seen before, possesses the fantastic Baldwin rump which on occasion we are allowed to dwell upon stark naked, and the film plays off on the obvious general sexual energy of a sexy actor never trying to be sexy. He plays an actor, Bobby– an actor of the sort one occasionally meets in the profession, devoted to his craft so radically that he becomes cruel and obnoxious — as humorless, inconsiderate,  and spiritually intrusive as the dark fundamentalist he truly is. Baldwin is perfectly cast for  these qualities. And he is a bold actor. The story is about a TV show which takes the crime of the hour and reenacts it. Today’s crime is that of a serial killer, and so devoted to playing the part does the actor, Bobby, become that he becomes hypnotized by the killer, who talks to him over the phone. The killer, watching Bobby be him on the TV, recognizes that they have become one another. It is the story of a beautiful and famous actor’s desire for excellence acheiving its desire and the desire of an ugly nonentity to achieve beauty and fame, meeting. Pete Postlethwaite as the killer is remarkable. Every actor in England went to see him perform. (He once toured in King Lear playing every part.) And in this leading role, he has a full canvas to paint upon. His face is a treat to behold, with its big eyes and spike of jaw. His death scene is astonishing. Baldwin in recognition of his own lost life has a crying scene that is beautiful, and other fine scenes as well. The two of them are worth the time it takes to watch this really first class story — true, a story made banal by its director’s treatment of it — but still somehow a vehicle for great acting.


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