DIRECTOR: PHILIP KAUFMAN
CINEMATOGRAPHY: MICHAEL CHAPMAN
MUSIC: TORU TAKENITSU
NOVEL BY: MICHAEL CRICHTON
CAST: Sean Connery (John Conner), Wesley Snipes (Web), Harvey Keitel (Graham), Carry-Misoyuki Tagana, Kevin Anderson, Mako, Ray Wise, Stan Egi, Stan Shaw
ONE WORD: Sean Connery, and a well written story.
It's a good thing that I did not bother to read the novel, and in fact, I have never read Michael Crichton. Given the many other reviews this film has had, it seems that the novel is better, and that the film is weak by comparison..... well, I think the film is very good, even if the novel may be better. It has a solid story, that is well told, and well displayed on screen, with visual imagery that the book can only hint at.... and we can see it here.
But, this film is probably a lot more PHILIP KAUFMAN, than it is a Michael Crichton story. The film has a stark moodiness to it, that is rarely found in any Crichton work. The moodiness, however, helps when it comes to a film that is of a sordid disposition to begin with.
The story is not difficult... it is about a group of Japanese businessmen that want to buy a large corporation, but in the middle of their gala event, a woman is murdered in the conference room where they had been meeting. There are no apparent motives, and there are very few clues. And the only lead is the son of the main business leader of the Japanese group, whose penchant is for women in numbers, and eating sushi from their bodies. The murdered woman happened to have been someone who had been living with him, and may have been one of his many mistresses.
But later, with the prodding of the special investigator John Conner, who has had a previous dealing with the same Japanese group, begins to put together two and two, very slowly, and to find ways to get to the real culprit, who proves very elusive indeed, until the very last scenes. In between is a security guard that is vehement about his protection of his masters. And a piece of film, which is missing at first, which happens to be the security cameras which all rooms in the massive property happen to have.
Sean Connery is excellent, although one could say that he is always Sean Connery. And his co-partner, Wesley Snipes stands out with a performance that is very good, and even has some funny moments. The two develop a nice interplay, mainly because the wily John Conner knows how the attitudes of these Japanese work, and he has to help his partner come to grips with it. But Web Smith's main moments are in defending his blackness.... wrong century.... well said.
Philip Kaufman has directed this into a study in the dark, where the details may be hidden. The detailed studying of the film, in the room, begins to show many things, which the two are trying to sort out. And eventually, they begin to corner the culprit, in the subtlest of ways.
More than anything, however, this film is a showcase for Sean Connery, and his ability to look smooth, and be gallant at the same time. And the director allows this to happen. But since, the Japanese have a liking to this investigator, this works, like James Bond might have.
A good film, very well written, even for the screen, it should be seen. It is well designed, and neatly thought out, as the novel which it came from probably is. Michael Crichton is known for small details that we miss, but come alive later, and this story is not any different. There are always new twists, which keep us guessing and moving from one clue to another.... an excellent mystery, better written than Agatha herself.
Should see, strong performances, and very good story. I think the film is very well done, and well directed. It understates many moments, and then overstates others, keeping a balance that is hard to see, and understand. But this balance is never set up to hide, or hint at the killer himself, which makes for a prime murder mystery.
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