Vintage Trailer of the Week 54
Whatever happened to Christopher Crowe? Well, I know what happened, he now owns a business constructing racing cars for NASCAR, having apparently been a Racing Driver before he began his career in film. But what I mean is: what happened to that film career?
The answer seems to be that he emerged in television, and after a few cinematic projects of varying quality, he returned to television. Then, he just walked away. But he left a couple of intriguing credits behind him. Most obviously, he shares a writing credit with Michael Mann on The Last of the Mohicans, perhaps Mann's most accessible and downright entertaining film. He also wrote James Foley's Fear, a middling home invasion thriller with a Pre-stardom Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg. His best known tv work is probably the time travel show Seven Days or the Twilght Zone-aping The Watcher.
He wrote and directed two films which received theatrical distribution. In 1992, the derivative, badly cast erotic thriller Whispers in the Dark may have ended his budding directorial career, so abject was its failure.
His first feature, made in 1988, had marked him out as a director of promise. That film was also a thriller, only it was set in modish 60s Vietnam, in a city crawling with servicemen and the scum who feed off them. It was called Off Limits in the US, but given a better, far more evocative title in International territories; Saigon.
Coming near the end of that second, strangely eclectic cycle of Vietnam movies - which included comedies like Good Morning Vietnam alongside the likes of Platoon and Full Metal Jacket - it pairs Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines - back when both still seemed like possible stars - as M.P. Investigators, hunting a killer who is murdering Vietnamese prostitutes. When they realise the man they're after may be Top Brass, a whole new World of corruption and other words commonly used in trailers for thrillers opens up to them. The plot may be pretty standard for the erotic thriller genre, but the movie is sweatily atmospheric and intense, with a great sense of place and a sure tone throughout. The performances are also strong in the main - Fred Ward is as reliably good value as ever - and in comparison to much of the genre cinema produced in America in 2011, it seems an impressively mature piece of work, for all its melodramatic excesses. It suggests that Crowe may have made an exceptional genre film, sooner or later, and that NASCAR's gain is cinemas loss.
Full trailer: http://youtu.be/2ehPfwCg3wk