Sung Hi Lee plays an artist whose boyfriend dumps her. She opens her wrist.
Her boyfriend calls an ambulance, and disappears. Joanna Pacula plays a
high-paid shrink who does pro bono work for the hospital and is called in to
try and reach Lee, who has refused to speak. Pacula gets through, visits her
at her studio, is impressed, and has a brainstorm. She tells Lee to show her
art to a failing art gallery owner who happens to be her husband (Joe Mantegna).
The shrink does not tell the artist that the gallery owner is her husband, and
does not tell her husband about the conversation at all. Because Lee's art is
wonderful, Mantegna gives her a show, and nearly everything is sold before the
official opening. Life seems hunky-dory for everyone.
But Pacula continues to hide her connection to the gallery owner and also
continues as the artist's therapist. Problems arise. The artist discusses the
show with her therapist, and adds that she is having a hot love affair with
the gallery owner! Pacula believes that hubby is cheating and hires a PI to
follow him. The PI reports that nothing is going on. Obviously Lee is even
more twisted than Pacula realizes, and has made up the affair. We seem to be
in standard Fatal Attraction territory, except that Montagna has done nothing
wrong at all.
Then the director manufactures a big red herring trying to arrange a huge
surprise ending. The hot ending, which was probably the first bit of the
script to be written, has Montegna pointing a gun first at one woman, then the
This script has many problems:
- A reputable therapist would not have hidden her relationship with the
art dealer from her patient.
- A therapist, of all people, shouldn't immediately believe a story
offered by a patient who is known to have some serious mental problems.
- Even an art dealer with little experience handling guns would have
better sense than to point a loaded gun at the woman he loved before
finally pointing it at the right woman!
The ending scene posed the greatest problem. Error in Judgment is the sort
of thriller that really irritates me, the kind where I feel manipulated by the
director, and this is precisely the kind of contrived scene used by hack
writers and directors to create artificial cinematic suspense - something that
happens only in movies, not in life.
The cast did not rise above the script. It will probably raise a red flag
when I tell you that a former playmate (Sung Hi Lee) was probably the best
thing about the film. Joanna Pacula was too passive and cold, and had no
chemistry with Joseph Montegna.
If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to
explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by
our definition, a
C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs
and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a low:
At best. Only for hard-core thriller addicts.