Review: ‘Risk’

If only "Risk" had anything to say about its implied subject, it might be worth a look. But this desperate romance between an irredeemable loser and the woman who vainly tries to save him goes through familiar lovers-on-the-run motions without adding a single new interesting twist. Few paying customers will risk this one.

If only “Risk” had anything to say about its implied subject, it might be worth a look. But this desperate romance between an irredeemable loser and the woman who vainly tries to save him goes through familiar lovers-on-the-run motions without adding a single new interesting twist. Few paying customers will risk this one.

First feature by writer/director Deirdre Fishel presentsa parade of implausible, silly or just irritating decisions and actions by the characters that make one want to go spend time with just about any other characters in any other film.

It’s doubtful that many women in New York City would allow a complete stranger to enter their apartment and immediately proceed to take a bath with him, but that’s precisely what Maya (Karen Sillas) does when the creepy Joe (David Ilku) turns up at her door.

Having met Maya briefly on the bus, Joe has followed her home, and once their affair has begun, the penniless fellow thinks nothing of getting the frustrated artist fired from her job as a model, stealing a car and driving them out to the country.

It’s not hard to guess why Joe is the last person his pregnant sister, Nikki (Molly Price), and her husband, Karl (Jack Gwaltney), want to see, since Joe messed up the last job he did for them. Reluctantly, they take the needy couple in, but Joe just messes up again, so they move on, literally taking a job shoveling manure.

Somehow, Maya keeps loving Joe and believes she can save him from himself. But after dressing up in a slip and makeup and saying, “Maybe I would have been less pathetic as a girl,” Joe proves her wrong, which can be a surprise to no one but Maya.

What Fishel hoped an audience might take away from this woe-begotten tale will remain an unsolved mystery, and there are no compensations offered in the way of stylistic grace notes or pleasure in performance. Pic is threadbare both imaginatively and technically.

Risk

(Drama -- Color)

Production

A Northern Arts release of a Hank Blumenthal presentation in association with Naked Eye Prods. Produced by Gordon McLennan. Directed, written by Deirdre Fishel.

Crew

Camera (Duart color), Peter Pearce; editors, Fishel, McLennan; music, John Paul Jones; production design, Flavia Galuppo; sound, Steuart Pearce; associate producers, Blumenthal, Andrew Weeks; assistant director, Risa Koren. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah, Jan. 21, 1994. Running time: 85 min.

With

Maya ... Karen Sillas Joe ... David Ilku Nikki ... Molly Price Karl ... Jack Gwaltney
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