Shattered Image

© RCV Film Distribution BV
Has what appears to be some kind of split personality, or someone who is subject to dream states through which she becomes someone else. It's hard to tell exactly what the situation is and ever harder to care. She wanders haplessly and helplessly as a character in a scenario from one scene and one character to the next, and it's almost impossible to keep track of anything at all. As Jesse Markham 1 (Anne Parillaud), she is weak, vulnerable, and generally sort of willy-nilly namby- pamby. When she's offered a cup of tea, she says things like, "Are you sure it's tea?" When she answers the phone and no one speaks, she says things like, "It was him. He didn't say anything, but I'm sure it was him." She whispers with a deep tone of voice and speaks with no intonation, which, one assumes, is supposed to make her sexy, attractive, and seductive (to the captive viewers in the cinema). As Jessie Markham 2 (also Anne Parillaud), she is strong, cold-hearted and capable of murder. In this second role, she whispers with a deep tone of voice and speaks with no intonation, which, one assumes, is supposed to make her sexy, attractive, and seductive (to the captive viewers in the cinema). The one distinguishing feature that separates the helpless victim from the femme fatale is that the more dangerous lady always seems to suffer from bad-wig days.

© RCV Film Distribution BV
Opening with a dream (before turning into a nightmare), we see Ms. Markham 2 follow a restaurant client into the men's room where she promptly pumps three bullets into his chest before leaving to make a phone call in which she reveals "It's done". Shortly afterward Ms. Markham 1 travels to Jamaica with her new husband Brian (William Baldwin) to begin a journey of confusion. The charming, boyish Mr. Baldwin usually spends his time walking adorably along the sand, showing how cute he is, or staring at his new bride with smiling eyes before they kiss for the thousandth time. (Dreamside, Mr. Baldwin has a replica in the person of the hit woman Ms. Markham 2's target.) On brief occasions, he reassures her of his manhood with such statements as, "No one will hurt you. I'm here to prevent that." During their honeymoon, she is having a difficult time forgetting the rape she previously experienced outside a nightclub and becomes convinced that her attacker is in pursuit. Nothing has been able to alleviate her fears, not even frequent visits to her psychiatrist. "Nonsense," says our hero as he takes off his shirt again. Pause, move slowly, kiss, embrace (at least until the next scene, where this order of events will probably be put into place once again). She's so obsessive about her attacker, to the exclusion of everything else, that, after the first half-hour, one begins to wonder what he ever saw in her (i.e. the husband, not the attacker, with whom one can more easily sympathize). He, on the other hand, may be cute, but every time he gets a chance, he brings up her money and what he wants to do with it, which makes one wonder what she saw in him. A match made in hell (which is what this tropical island turns into as one sits watching this nonsense for two hours).

Chilean director Raul Ruiz appears, after making almost 100 films, to be going around the bend with his American debut; writer Duane Poole seems to have helped him get there. Graham Greene appears in the supporting roles of Conrad and Mike. Lisanne Falk plays the supporting roles of Paula and Laura. Dutch cinematographer Robby Muller is the only positive thing to be said about this escapade, but, then again, his work has always been top notch. The PR machine behind the feature may try comparing this movie to "Vertigo," but "Dizziness" would have been a closer title. If someone had contemplated killing off the two main characters in the first scene, a lot of wasted time and money would have been saved. Couldn't somebody have come up with the idea of putting them out of their misery (and ours) earlier?

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett