Color of Night (1994)
A color-blind psychiatrist is stalked by an unknown killer after taking over his murdered friend's therapy group and becomes embroiled in an intense affair with a mysterious woman who may be connected to the crime.
Truly, this is the quintessential '90's film. The erotic thriller genre was very popular then. To be honest, the nudity is the biggest let-down of the film. I think that if you're gonna make a boner film, make a lustful film. The shots of the sex are not even erotic at all. Sure, people will say, "There's tons of sex and nudity". It seems too overdone and / or artsy. Jane March is one sexy lady, but it seemed at times that Willis was the one driving the relationship. There wasn't really a romantic chemistry between them (of course given that Bill Capa is troubled at the time due to a patient's suicide, this would be a healing type of casual sex). What makes it worse is that the uncut version, which I own, only makes the silly nudity discount much of the movie. I see now why the director only wanted to release the conventional version b/c it adds nothing to the movie!The grittiness of the story is what holds this work up on itself. This is a very dark movie. At times, the acting other than the leads (I'm talking about Bruce Willis and Scott Bakula who I also like) is a bit much. As usual, the 3rd tier actors try to outdo each other and especially during the therapy sessions, their immaturity shows.Not for kids! If you're like me, if you like boundary pushing, this is your film. All frat boys around the country should be forced to watch this movie! Me and my buddy from High School watched this movie together, and that became a gag between us during senior year! Good times!
Wearing a vivid green dress, an unstable woman smears bright red lipstick on her face. Then, she visits New York therapist Bruce Willis (as Bill Capa). The woman suffers a mishap, which causes Mr. Willis to go color blind. The color red is his most specific problem. It is also the color of blood. Willis visits Los Angeles and sits in on a fellow psychoanalyst's therapy group. He decides to stay in the city and take over his college friend's therapy group. The group members are all unbalanced, of course. Later, while talking and driving, Willis has a minor "fender bender" accident with exceptionally sexy and much younger Jane March (as Rose). To make life exciting, a serial killer begins knocking off members of the cast...Possibly, director Richard Rush and Willis were going for quirky, here. It doesn't work. A major mystery is telegraphed early. This strangely apparent deception doesn't necessarily reveal the killer's identity, but it does distract one from caring. Willis shows off thickened hair and muscles. March looks great on film. Both show generous amounts of flesh and have good crying scenes. Neither are convincing, however. The foul-mouthed therapy group appears to have fun. Out-of-place "Columbo"-like detective Ruben Blades has too much fun, but carpenter Andrew Lowery (as Dale) should have some more. The cinematography by Dietrich Lohmann is a strength, especially when March is dressing up and down the scenery.**** Color of Night (1994-08-19) Richard Rush ~ Bruce Willis, Jane March, Lesley Ann Warren, Andrew Lowery
Color of Night is a very vibrant, colorful film with odd characters from the very beginning. The opening scenes are jarring leaving one trying to figure out just what exactly is going on. What is going to happen next? The acting by everyone is excellent. I think this is Bruce Willis' best acting yet. His character is very endearing and likable. In fact, all of the characters, as kooky as they may be, are likable here leaving an impression after seeing this.There are very clever split screen shots using mirrors so that we can see both characters during conversations. The film is overdone though. It becomes a bit too heavy-handed near the end and then we are left with an overdub from one of the characters that seems silly. Also, when we find out who the killer is the actor seems a little uncomfortable with his dialog.Not perfect by any means but very unique and very well shot. Almost feels like a Brian Depalma film. A mysterious thriller that pulls you in and keeps you interested.
Folks don't like this movie. I didn't either, but there is at least one interesting thing about it, its provenance.Its an old fashioned locked house mystery, patterned after the Agatha Christie model. You have some sort of artificial constraint that sets the rules: there is a murderer and you know it is one among a small group. As the story goes, you discover that each person has some hidden side that may lead to the explanation that they are the murderer. The detective, in this case a psychologist, is hampered in that he has a condition similar to the broken souls he is counseling. It makes it difficult for him to "see" on our behalf. In true Agatha tradition, the real murderer is revealed to be someone, and to rely on some causes, that are so unexpected we smile when they are revealed. The red in the red herring here is sex. The diversions that pull us away all have to do with sexual fantasy. This is, needless to say, not a device that Agatha would have used, but it is most welcome here because it isn't just sex that is used to distract us: its that special kind that comes from cinematically- generated romantic target stories.In fact, if you know films, you may know one of the most successful and lovely of the projects that simply and directly takes you one of these romantic, bodily encounters that actually ends but remains sweet. Its "The Lover," and stars as the target of attention a young Jane March. Its a different twist than here, where she takes on several characters in one body, but the overall shape is the same, emotionally as well as the skinform.There's incompetence in how it is delivered to us, but the way it is structured is very, very sweet, and continues the narrative tradition of the detective story into more modern terms. It probably is important in that respect and though it doesn't directly reward us, I'll bet that its a big step in the evolution of the form that has given us stuff we really do like.Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.