Final Analysis (Arrow Recommends)

Final Analysis (Arrow Recommends)
7 10

"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: A shrink with glorious hair (Richard Gere) makes the unwise decision of deep dicking his patient's (Uma Thurman) gorgeous sister (Kim Basigner). And it all goes downhill from there as he get sucked into a devious game of lies, deceit and Eric Roberts pecs!

"I look at people's thoughts. I try to figure out what they really mean. You do this enough, after a while people, they stop surprising you. I just want to be surprised." – Isaac

LOWDOWN: The 90’s were all about thrillers, some were remakes of Hitchcock classics like A Perfect Murder (1998) and Psycho (1998) while others obviously owed a lot to the Master of Suspense in the way they went about shite. These come to mind: Basic Instinct (1992), Cape Fear (1991), Shattered (1991), A Kiss Before Dying (1991), Deceived (1991), Guilty as Sin (1993), Raising Cain (1992). One flick from that era that screamed at the top of its lungs “Hitchcock wannabe/homage!!!” was Phil Joanou’s 1992 thriller FINAL ANALYSIS (get the DVD or stream it here) starring Richard Here, Uma Thurman and Kim Basigner. I hadn’t seen it since the big screen and remembered enjoying it back then, and being that for reasons only my own shrink fully grasps, I’m on a Dickie Gere kick now of late, I figured I’d give it another tap. So how did it hold up? Here we go!

Final Analysis wore its Hitchockian influences proudly on its sleeves. I I caught some hints of Spellbound (1945), a pinch of Marnie (1964) and a f*ckload of the 1958 Vertigo (picturesque San Francisco setting, the “following of mysterious women”, a similar finale). The classy opening credits (which gave us visual hints of the shenanigans to come… well played) and George Fenton’s "Bernard Herrmann-ish" melodramatic/grandiose score also screamed Hitch! So yeah, they went THAT way. On this second watch, I got to enjoy Final Analysis as fluffy fun which I’m sure was not the intent – but hey, who cares! The screenplay by Wesley Strick (of Cape Fear infamy) gunned out twists over twists over twists… so many f*cking twists that although still groovy when they elbow dropped, became a little too farfetched to be fully taken seriously. Think a Soap Opera on coke!

On that, Director Joanou was thankfully on fire with his third feature. Elegant shots, bold framing, noir-ish tendencies and a bang on maximizing of the San Francisco setting. Straight up, after watching the film, I wrote down Frisco on my “places to visit” list. Long overdue! A note on Joanou if I may; I worshiped that dude in the 90’s in terms of his visceral directing style. His Irish mob film State of Grace (1990) made quite the mark on me back then and has helped groom how I perceive cinema today. He of course also helmed the hilarious Three O'Clock High (1987), the underrated Heaven's Prisoners (1996) and the 2012 The Punisher short film Dirty Laundry with Thomas Jane, but State of Grace is in a class of its own. A must see BTW. Am getting side tracked here… back on this sucka!

One of Final Analysis main strengths was its top-notch cast. Richard Gere did his low-key, soft-spoken shtick and let his nifty suits and impressive mane do the rest. Uma Thurman was a revelation here! In fact this was the movie that first made me aware of her. She killed it as the insecure, morose yet affable damaged sister. And then we had Kim Basigner. DAMN! I got to to hand it to the lass, she hands down ruled this movie! Her layered performance was incredibly convincing. She had so many different notes to hit and tagged them all with gusto. Quite the showcase!  She should have won the Oscar for this one instead of her “okay” display in the 1997 LA Confidential. But hey that’s just my stupid ass talking.

Add to all jive, an easy pace, memorable side characters (Eric Roberts had me in stitches as the overtly intense gangsta – he had all the best lines and to this day I’ve never seen anybody take such deep hauls off a cigarette – genius!), steamy sex scenes, potent suspense and so much sunglasses abusing that you’ll think “Okay I get it, this is film noir” and you get an amusing sit down, when on the ball and when off the ball. On the dull side of the knife, Keith David, an actor I usually LOVE came off a tad too hammy for his own good here. He made me laugh with his fervent scenery chewing. I guess he was the only one that knew he was stuck in a cheese sandwich.

Moreover, the characters did a lot of stupid and far from thought-out moves to serve the plot – not a huge deal as that went hand in crotch with the silliness that was this story, but still, I noticed, goddamn did I notice. I also didn’t buy how the first big reveal went down (a coincidence, come on, too easy) and the last plot turn which sent us to our conclusion felt forced and contrived. Finally, I HATED the last frames. It double-downed a “horror flick” convention for a potential sequel set up – but alas it made no rational sense whatsoever in terms of what transpired before. ZERO.

On the whole, FINAL ANALYSIS was not a film that will have you scream “masterpiece” as the end credits roll. But its excellent cast, sleek look, how seriously it took itself and its gripping & overtly topsy-turvy chain of events made sure to keep me grinning throughout. So you in the mood for a solid Hitchcock knock-off? This ain’t it. But if you're craving a frivolous piece of celluloid with Hitchcock overtones...  BINGO, lay on this leather couch and chow down on some FINAL ANALYSIS.

NOTE: There's no Blu-Ray for the film yet. WTF?!



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