Color of Night

1994, R, 121 min. Directed by Richard Rush. Starring Bruce Willis, Jane March, Ruben Blades, Lesley Ann Warren, Brad Dourif, Lance Henriksen, Kevin J. O'Connor, Scott Bakula.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 26, 1994

Sporadic director Rush (whose last film was 1981's The Stunt Man) takes on Hitchcock and ends up looking like DePalma on a bad hair day. Willis (who, perhaps coincidentally, seems to have a lot more hair than he did last summer) is a high-priced New York behaviorist who, shattered by the suicide of a patient and his perceived role in the woman's demise, hightails it to Los Angeles in search of some peace and quiet (oh, sure, always the first place I think of when contemplating restful solitude). Once there, he drops in on college pal and fellow therapist Scott Bakula who fears someone in his Monday night group therapy session is trying to kill him. Before long, somebody does, and Willis takes over the group at the behest of LAPD detective Blades, a wisecracking cop who also suspects the killer may be a part of the group. And what a clichéd group it is. There's Warren as a touchy-feely nymphomaniac, Dourif (what this poor guy wouldn't give for a mentally hospitable role) as an obsessive-compulsive lawyer, Henriksen as a shell-shocked cop, and so on. Meanwhile, into Willis' LA segue wanders March, a randy, vaguely post-pubescent Love Thang with a mysterious, unexplained past. They do it in the pool, they do it on the floor, they presumably do it around the mulberry bush, and things are looking up for the good doctor until he starts receiving thinly veiled death threats. Crammed with plot twists that are meant to be shocking (but, let's face it, are only annoying), Color of Night strives to be a classic romantic thriller in the vein of, say, Vertigo. Not even. Only Blades, as the Hispanic tough-nut cop carries any emotional resonance; his performance is nearly worth the price of admission, but only just. The genuinely libido-adrenalizing March appears to have thought the film was a good career move, but she should have held out for better. Color of Night is yet another in a string of vapid, low-tension headaches passing for suspense thrillers (Fatal Attraction, Jennifer 8, Single White Female) that tries to go everywhere and, instead, goes nowhere. At all.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Color of Night, Richard Rush, Bruce Willis, Jane March, Ruben Blades, Lesley Ann Warren, Brad Dourif, Lance Henriksen, Kevin J. O'Connor, Scott Bakula

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