Writer-director Mike Figgis returns to the territory of his earlier success, Stormy Monday, with plenty of mood but not a lot of plot.
Pic is set in a grimy town hoping for an economic turnaround via demolition of a defunct department store and the construction of a shopping mall. The town continues to have repercussions of a murder that took place 30 years before (and shown during the opening credits). Figgis gets good use of his Binghamton, NY, locations, including the old building that’s the focus of much of the film.
The story proper begins with the arrival of architectural writer Kevin Anderson, summoned to the bedside of his dying mother (Kim Novak) whom he has never known. While in town he runs into old college buddy Bill Pullman, who’s in charge of the demolition. He soon meets Pullman’s wife (Pamela Gidley), who is suffering in a sexless marriage due to hubby’s playing around, and they become involved.
Figgis’ problem here is the confused script, which doesn’t seem to have a point. Biggest waste is Novak, who spends virtually the entire film bedridden and moaning her few lines. Rest of the thesping is professional, but unmemorable.
[In the UK pic was released in a 113-minute version featuring a sequence in which the local sheriff takes Anderson to a brothel.]