A further instalment in Schrader's on-going study of confused loners, this stylish film noir offers yet another take on the possibility of redemption from sin and guilt in the modern world. At 40, John LeTour (Dafoe), an up-market dealer who delivers drugs to chic clubs and apartments, has hit a crisis. His boss (Sarandon) is contemplating trading in her cocaine business for herbal cosmetics; his psychic advisor (Hurt) reckons he's due for a change; and the recently re-encountered love of his life (Delany) fears that he's never quite kicked his own suicidal habit. LeTour needs a push before he can break with the past; but the requisite jolt comes in the shape of a murder. Schrader certainly has his finger on the pulse of the times, and the universally strong performances do ample justice to his sensitive ear for dialogue. But the story meanders, and it echoes Taxi Driver and American Gigolo so closely that Schrader is working less than fresh variations on over-familiar themes. For all the film's conspicuously adult intelligence, it elicits a disappointing sense of déjà vu.
Cast and crew
Mary Beth Hurt