“What I’m trying to do is give an account of the times in which I’m living. And I’ve seen all kinds of murder — physical, yes, but moral, spiritual, emotional murder!”
A controversial fashion photographer (Faye Dunaway) known for her graphically violent and sexualized imagery begins seeing murders of her colleagues and friends take place through her mind’s eye — though no one believes her. Can a police chief (Tommy Lee Jones) help Dunaway determine the identity of the killer — who may be her jealous ex-husband (Raul Julia), her ex-con driver (Brad Dourif), or someone else entirely?
Based on a source story and original screenplay by John Carpenter, this American giallo film is high on atmosphere but low on credibility and genuine tension. The potentially intriguing psychic angle — Dunaway sees murders in her head from the unseen killer’s point of view — is used simply to show she might be going off the deep end, and the potential suspects are too broadly drawn to be realistic contenders. Meanwhile, we’re meant to engage with a broader exploration of whether violent, sexually exploitative imagery somehow has an impact on society or vice versa — and/or might be fueling the killer’s moralistic rage — but it all comes across as simply an excuse to show off models in various states of undress, as Dunaway and her assistant (Rene Auberjonois) offer prissily precise feedback on stylized details. The ending comes out of nowhere, leaving viewers not only full of empty imagery but lack of any narrative satisfaction. And the romance between Dunaway and Jones? Well, let’s just call it contrived.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine cinematography and on-location shooting in New York
Nope. You can skip this one.