Black Widow

  • Film
  • Thrillers
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From its opening shot - Theresa Russell's split reflection in a make-up mirror - both the theme and the over-schematic symbolism of Rafelson's thriller are immediately apparent. For Russell plays a homicidal psychopath whose killings of various wealthy husbands are investigated by a Justice Department workaholic (Winger), who slowly but surely becomes a kind of mirror-image of her Protean prey. The story and treatment are familiar from '40s noir thrillers, but it's clear that Rafelson is attempting something more than mere homage. Disappointingly, the femme fatale - apparently in love with her husbands even as she plans their demise - is presented as somehow more female, fulfilled and complete than the career woman, who in turn eventually discovers both dress sense and the joy of sex with her opposite's next victim-to-be. There are things to enjoy - committed performances, Conrad Hall's elegant camerawork, a script that becomes pleasurably tortuous towards the end - but the film finally offers far less than meets the eye.

Release details

Duration: 102 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Bob Rafelson
Screenwriter: Ronald Bass
Cast: Debra Winger
Theresa Russell
Sami Frey
Dennis Hopper
Nicol Williamson
Diane Ladd
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