×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mirage

Alfred Hitchcock deserves better than the atrocious homage he gets in Paul Williams' "Mirage," an incoherent thriller that can't decide whether to slavishly copy Hitchcock's "Vertigo" or make a satire out of it. Preposterous plotting and radical changes in tone dictate the fate of this routine B picture as straight-to-video.

With:
Matteo Juarez - Edward James Olmos Lt. Richie Randazzo - James Andronica Donald Gale - P.W. Williams Jennifer Gale - Sean Young

Alfred Hitchcock deserves better than the atrocious homage he gets in Paul Williams’ “Mirage,” an incoherent thriller that can’t decide whether to slavishly copy Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” or make a satire out of it. Preposterous plotting and radical changes in tone dictate the fate of this routine B picture as straight-to-video. Closing-night selection of the Palm Springs Film Festival was greeted with laughter and sneers by a bewildered audience.

The writer/director team of James Andronica and Williams, whose previous joint effort, “The November Men,” was seen by few people last year, lacks the savvy and technical skill of Brian De Palma, a filmmaker who has virtually made a career out of tributes to the Master of Suspense but also knows how to add a fresh angle, humor and irony to his homages.

In Andronica’s tale, Edward James Olmos is cast (in the Jimmy Stewart role) as Matteo Juarez, a down-and-out ex-cop in the Palm Springs area who cannot get over inadvertently causing the death of an innocent female hostage while trying to shoot her captor.

Just as he’s sinking deeper and deeper into melancholy, Matteo is hired by Donald Gale (played by the director), a rich industrialist/environmentalist intent on saving the Salton Sea, to protect Jennifer (Sean Young), his young, beautiful but mysterious wife, who seems to lead a double life.

Following Jennifer, Matteo is surprised to find she’s a stripper in a sleazy bar, concealing her identity under a blond wig — and a new name.

Between twice saving her life — first from a sexual assault, then from a suicide attempt atop a cliff — Matteo falls in love.

Later, when he can’t save Jennifer from a gruesome death in a holdup in her home, Matteo can’t help blaming himself.

Story jumps ahead to a year later, with Matteo even deeper into depression and alcoholism. One day, sitting at a bar, he spots a waitress who looks like Jennifer but claims to be a newly arrived Irish immigrant.

Obsessed and still madly in love with Jennifer, he sets out to reveal the woman’s true identity and in the process finds himself in a web of corrupt schemes and lies.

With the notable exception of Olmos, who manages to keep his face straight, the acting is uniformly bad, particularly that of Young, whose fainting and yelling — and heavy Irish accent — are excruciatingly fake.

Shot entirely in the vicinity of Palm Springs, pic has below-average production values, particularly Stephen Eckelberry’s abrupt editing and David Richard Campbell’s blatant score.

Mirage

Production: A Roadhouse/Tigertail Flicks/Shonderosa production. Produced, directed by Paul Williams. Executive producers, Robert and Barbara Rohdie, Chuck Plotkin, Wendy Brandchaft, Saul Skoler. Screenplay, James Andronica.

Crew: Camera (color)/production design, Susan Emerson; editor, Stephen Eckelberry; music, David Richard Campbell; sound (Dolby), Pat Somerset; associate producer, William Grillo Sr.; casting, Corrine Andronica. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival, Jan. 15, 1995. Running time: 106 min.

With: Matteo Juarez - Edward James Olmos Lt. Richie Randazzo - James Andronica Donald Gale - P.W. Williams Jennifer Gale - Sean Young

More Film

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    North American Box Office Declines From Last Year With Weak Presidents Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” easily won a tepid Presidents Day weekend with a $34.2 million at 3,790 North American locations, estimates showed Monday. Overall domestic moviegoing for 2019 has plunged 22.1% to $1.24 billion as of Monday, according to Comscore. That’s $350 million below the same date a year ago and the lowest figure at this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content