The sleek adaptation by C. Gaby Mitchell of Raymond Chandler’s 1939 tale reeks with conviction and determination. The period touches and the use of the Ambassador Hotel give the wrenching story a mesmerizing look at a fictional L.A. underworld.
House dick Bruno Kirby, who’s worshiped former band chirp Marg Helgenberger from afar for years, finds her decorously listening to radio tunes. She’s waiting for ex-hubby (Dan Hedaya) to get out of prison, but so’s the mob.
Director Tom Hanks serves up strong drama with energy and flair. His top-flight cast performs admirably, and the running selection of standards on the house radio and in a car is a sure touch.
The dialogue is purposeful.
“Waiting” looks smart, and Helgenberger shows how sophistication’s a year-in, year-out commodity. Kirby’s in top form; Hanks appears as a goateed menace.