"Of course I love you... would I be here if I didn't?"
- Jeff Willis
* MAJOR spoiler alerts *
There's something about Film Noir that's all encompassing. One minute you're getting comfy, the next you're so riveted a small rodent could be gnawing at your ankle unbeknownst to you. A truly powerful genre. Is it because I feel cosmically connected to Simone Signoret and other fabulous Diaboliques like her, or just that I love and appreciate a good whodunnit?
All this to preface that I probably would have watched a film like Twilight whether Liev was in it or not. The addition of His Hotness takes it from already worthy to a bona fide cinematic experience.
So, here are my Top Ten Twilight Thoughts for you in no particular order:
- I'm usually a character focused viewer, but plot in intrinsic to all mysteries and this one's choc-full-of nuts. In Act I we're introduced to a pretty little engenue, a young punk (Liev), terminal illness, elicit affairs, a starlet who married up, a flophouse, alcoholic ex-cop private detectives, murder and a woman named Gloria Lamar. This thing could not sound more Film Noir if it were The Black Dahlia.
- The cast is INCREDIBLE. I was actually surprised that Liev's role was as significant as it was, seeing the names he shared the billboard with. At this point in Liev's carreer story, he had done Ransom and broken out with Scream but the rest of his projects were not as mainstream. Gene Hackman! Paul Newman! James Garner! Susan Serandan! Stockard Channing! John Spencer! Please... next we'll find out Marlon Brando was an uncredited P.A. or something. These are some heavy hitters. I'm thinking Liev and Reese must have been constantly bowing and fetching water, just grateful to even be breathing the same air as these dramatic geniuses.
- Fantastic dialogue abounds. How many times do you hear someone referred to as "Pal" or "Pally" in film these days? Liev gets away with it and it becomes a bit of a monacher here. So great how they acheived this without being corny. My favourite line (uttered by James Garner): "Do I look like a man who'd have a ginger ale?"
- Oh the humanity! If you boiled the thing down and made a logline for TV Guide, the story would be simple to tell. What makes this one interesting is the setting in which it's told. Somehow the story feels like we should all be wearing red lipstick and shoulder pads - yet we're in modern day. Very clever.
- The realism of the characters is what counts. There's little beauty and lots of truth. Liev kicks the $hit out of Paul Newman under the Santa Monica Pier, leaving him bleeding in the sand with the tide rolling in, and then barks at his parole officer/girlfriend in a hurt voice "Why are you always so negative?"
- I'll never look at chicken wings the same way again. As Husband said: "Not Liev's finest hour."
- Props and Product placement. Now, this is a bad little habit of mine but I tend to have to watch movies several times because I get lost in prop choices and miss parts of the story. The bookcase in Gene hackman's bedrom was full of crime dramas. And in (Liev) Jeff and Gloria's apartment I spotted a bottle of Jean Naté body splash in the bathroom. Was that stuff still around in 1998 or was someone giving a private nod? We'll never know...
- Recurring relationships - this film is about people who've known each other for years and in different ways. There are no newcomers to the story other than Gloria. It's about connections, and obviously I'm partial to that concept. The pally's really are pals, in a sense.
- Liev in a bathing suit, frolicking in the waves. Liev in a towel. Liev with long hair. Many lovely (although brief) views of Liev.
- Tenderness is a major theme even though you wouldn't have called that one. Reese's Mel assures Harry "Sorry but you don't get to kiss the girl in the end... you and I are just bit players in their story." And Liev's last words, (about Gloria) before eating a mouthful of gunfire, are "If there's any more trouble, leave her out of it all right?"
It's worthwhile to find this film and enjoy it on a rainy day when dark humour suits your mindset. I hope you do.