1998; Rated R; 100 Minutes
Michael Keaton: Peter McCabe
Andy Garcia: Frank Conner
Brian Cox: Captain Jeremiah Cassidy
Marcia Gay Harden: Samantha Hawkins
Erik King: Nate Oliver
Produced by Jeffrey
Chernov, Gary Foster, Susan Hoffman, Lee Rich, Josie Rosen
and Barbet Schroeder; Directed by Barbet Schroeder;
Screenwritten by David Klass
by DAVID KEYES
Measures" is supposed to introduce us to what some call
"the dawn of a new serial killer genre," but I'm
undecided. Oh yes, it has elements that belong in a serial
killer film, but the story and premise are not that of such
material. This can be a good thing, but at this movie, I
had really mixed feelings; especially after seeing it just
hours after "The Apostle," one of the best films of 1998.
I wouldn't consider this to be a bad film, but with it's
simultaneous problems, it's not good, either.
not insulting the whole movie despite what you think. There
are moments within it that are as creepy and surreal as
"The Silence Of The Lambs" and "Seven," and it has a story
just as good as "Kiss The Girls." In fact, its story is
the strong point here (well, at least most of the time).
It is about detective Frank Conner, whose young son has
just reached the brink of near death. Some of his most important
vital organs are destroyed, and he desperately needs transplants.
The only problem is, the transplants must come from an identical
blood type, which is one of the rarest there is. The only
person who can supply these organs with the correct match
happens to be Conner's worst enemy, a sadistic, maniacal
killer named Peter McCabe, played by Michael Keaton. This
is one spooky character, and an interesting one. He's definitely
among the great serial killers of our time, like Hannibal
Lecter from "The Silence Of The Lambs."
where these two movies differ is in the formula. Hannibal
was a psychic cannibal locked away in an institution, and
was the only key to capturing another serial killer named
Buffalo Bill. This Buffalo Bill spent the duration of the
film killing victims, skinning them alive, etc. In "Desperate
Measures," the killer, instead of helping to locate another,
must choose between life in jail or saving an innocent little
life. But it's the life of his worst enemy's next of kin,
and he is, after all, a killer. Can he do this?
he doesn't spend the entire movie helping (as Hannibal did
in his own demented way). Halfway through the picture, where
he decides to go in for the surgery, he changes his mind
right in the operating room, and decides to make a great
escape into the free world.
the story of saving another becomes the story of capturing
the bad guy again. The part of the plot to save the young
boy's life is instantly sabotaged for two smaller premises:
one, where Conner has to either kill McCabe and destroy
his son's chances for survival, or apprehend him alive.
The second premise deals with, perhaps, the chances that
this killer could get back out into the world and wreak
havoc once again on an unsuspecting human being.
these not bad premises, but when a movie has a good one
to start with, it does not need another. It does not need
three. I was more anxious to follow the first premise to
save this kid's life, but that was discontinued, perhaps
because our attention was solely aimed at the killer himself.
By the time all was said and done, I walked away, wondering
what was going to happen to the kid, the police officer,
dunno; I got mixed feelings here. Performances and dialogue
were okay, but the story followed many different illogical
and pointless patterns. If this is the future of serial
killer movies, shall we retire them?
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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