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The Showtime Original Movie Past Tense

Cop turned aspiring mystery writer Gene Ralston (Scott Glenn) must sort out whether he is predicting the future or having a nightmare about the past in this two-hour white knuckle thriller.

With:
Cast: Scott Glenn, Anthony LaPaglia, Lara Flynn Boyle, Marita Geraghty, Duane Davis, David Ogden Stiers, Ned Van Zandt, Sheree Wilson, Corey Gunnestad, Mark Phelan, Michael Cutt, Kirk Jordan, Marianne Muellerleile, Joe Lala, Kevin Richardson, Babe Valera.

Cop turned aspiring mystery writer Gene Ralston (Scott Glenn) must sort out whether he is predicting the future or having a nightmare about the past in this two-hour white knuckle thriller.

The quickly paced story provides plenty of air-gasping moments for viewers, with clues coming fast and furious in flashbacks or flash-forwards and used extensively to tell the story.

When Ralston, who types his cheesy detective novels at windowside while looking out at his neighborhood, observes his neighbor Tory Bass (Lara Flynn Boyle) gardening, he sets the wheels in motion for a liaison. Naturally, the expected meeting becomes amorous and a bond is forged.

But the connection is quickly severed when he discovers Bass stabbed to death in a back bedroom. The cops arrive and conduct an investigation. Or do they?

Hours later Bass calls Ralston. Or does she? And the next day a different woman is occupying the house. Sound confusing? It could be. But the web is not nearly as tangled as it appears. Scripters Scott Frost and Miguel Tejada Flores do an excellent job of turning what could have been a convoluted story into something interesting to watch and follow.

The worthy script is further beefed up by strong performances by both Glenn and Boyle.

The compelling presence of Anthony LaPaglia as the tightly wound detective who is partnered with Ralston, keeps the sparks flying between the two coppers.

While some viewers may have difficulty telling the players without a scorecard and determining which events actually happened and if any were a figment of Ralston’s overactive imagination, show’s payoff is presumably worth the struggle to keep it straight.

Director Graeme Clifford ably guides his veteran cast, tapping nuances from Hitchcock and DePalma, while director of photography Chuck Minsky supports it all with detailed visuals.

The Showtime Original Movie Past Tense

(Sun. (12), 8-10 p.m., Showtime)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Arnold Kopelson Prods. in association with Showtime Entertainment. Executive producers, Arnold Kopelson, Anne Kopelson; line producer, Paul Kurta; producers, Stephen Brown, Nana Greenwald, Sanford Panitch; writers, Scott Frost, Miguel Tejada Flores; director, Graeme Clifford; production designer, Toby Corbett; director of photography, Chuck Minsky.

Crew: Editor , Paul Rubell; music, Stephen Graziano; sound, Ken Segal; camera, Wally Pfister, Tom Connole, Paul Edwards.

Cast: Cast: Scott Glenn, Anthony LaPaglia, Lara Flynn Boyle, Marita Geraghty, Duane Davis, David Ogden Stiers, Ned Van Zandt, Sheree Wilson, Corey Gunnestad, Mark Phelan, Michael Cutt, Kirk Jordan, Marianne Muellerleile, Joe Lala, Kevin Richardson, Babe Valera.

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