Never talk to Strangers

Nobody seems to follow the advice lent by the title. And who cares? Brilliant psychologist with repressed sexual nature meets hot Latino with taste for good wine; borderline characters with borderline personalities roam around in the background while somebody starts stalking the heroine. This fairly predictable story is nothing more than vehicle for Rebecca De Mornay and Antonio Banderas masquerading as an old-style whodunnit spiced up with some 90's erotica.

The clues are spread all over the place for those of you with an attentive eye; there is even a cute mirror shot (ala Polanski) that gives it away at a glance, if you haven't managed to figure it out by that point. Harry Dean Stanton and Len Cariou also appear in cameos. The exceptional talents of Sir Peter Hall (whom, I can only imagine, is hoping in this fashion to plow a wide-open path for himself though Hollywood) could have put his time to better use than on this unexceptional tale. His past ventures into stage, television, and film would seem to promise better value. Technically speaking (i.e. camerawork, production design, acting, directing) the film is fine, but what about the script?

And what do the actors have to say about this endeavor? Banderas: 'This movie is very realistic and at the same time it's very complex.' De Mornay: 'The film is sexy, but it is also very psychologically intricate.' To all this Sir Peter profoundly adds, 'I think it's very rich in human truths about the difficulty of knowing people, about the difficulty of taking risks. No matter how much we love someone, there are always constant surprises.' So much for the team at bat.

De Mornay, who was also executive producer, might have chosen a project that would have expanded her wings miles further. Whatever made her choose this script from so many others? Perhaps the ambience of fellow artists was sufficient incentive. After all, as director Hall says, 'If you don't dare to meet strangers, you never broaden your experience.' Or, as De Mornay says, ' ...sometimes strangers are exactly that, strangers that we really didn't know.'

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett