Jennifer Eight is an unusually intelligent and unexploitative thriller, notable for avoiding most standard suspense film contrivances.
Jennifer Eight is an unusually intelligent and unexploitative thriller, notable for avoiding most standard suspense film contrivances.British writer-director Bruce Robinson’s script possesses all the elements for yet another product of the Fatal Attraction-Basic Instinct cookie cutter: a burned-out big-city homicide cop getting involved with a mysterious blonde, brutal attacks on women, gruff career cops who resent the probing maverick, an opportunity for female retribution and, in the bargain, a couple of unfortunate plot holes. Andy Garcia toplines as a wreck of a detective who joins a small-town Northern California police force after crashing and burning in the LA fast lane. His sister (Kathy Baker) lives there with cop hubby (Lance Henriksen), and Garcia becomes latter’s partner in the search for a woman whose hand is found – in a stunningly shot nocturnal opening sequence – at a dump. With little evidence to go on, Garcia postulates that the killing is just the latest in a string of murders. Next target could be Uma Thurman, who’s blind like the most recent victim and was the last person to ‘see’ her alive. Lenser Conrad Hall quite possibly surpasses himself here with a virtuoso job highlighted by numerous sequences lit only by flashlights or other single light sources. Best of all is Thurman, who very touchingly conveys the vulnerability of the blind femme without for a moment begging for audience sympathy.
Paramount. Director Bruce Robinson; Producer Gary Lucchesi, David Wimbury; Screenplay Bruce Robinson; Camera Conrad Hall; Editor Conrad Buff; Music Christopher Young; Art Director Richard Macdonald
(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 124 MIN.
Andy Garcia Uma Thurman Lance Henriksen Kathy Baker Kevin Conway John Malkovich