Face Down

An ex-cop is down on his luck. Tossed off the police force, he's forced to work as a private detective and most of his work involves marital infifdelity.

Devoid of respect for himself or his clients, and heedless of his partner's admonitions to treat the business as a business, he's a man headed nowhere. Until a beautiful and complicated blonde walks in his office with an unbelievable story, one that eventually leads to the death of his partner.

And, imagine your surprise, everyone in the movie lies to everyone else at all times, everyone is suspected of every crime, including the policemen. Nothing is what it seems to be, or what you are led to believe it is.

Is it a 1930's movie based on a story by Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett? Nope. It may sound like The Maltese Falcon, but it's a 1997 made-for-cable movie about contemporary events.

Well, forget the anachronism, because that doesn't really matter. The story is sufficiently modernized to work in the here and now, but heed this advice. Read the summary above and ask yourself honestly how high a tolerance you have for cliches. If the answer is "very little", skip this movie unless you really want to see Kelli Maroney naked. If the answer is "I guess cliches are OK. I'd rather watch a half-baked genre flick with a twisty story than some arty stuff with no plot", then you may find this OK. I was able to watch it all the way through, although I can't recommend it with any enthusiasm.

I like Joe Mantagna as a character actor, but here he seems to be stretched pretty thin as a leading man, even though he's supposed to be kind of a sleazy one. And the film broke Scoopian Unities number Three and Three A, which are as follows:

Number Three: don't lead me through the entire movie with clues I can't figure out, then resolve it by having the murderer and the threatened victim turn out to be the same person with multiple personality disorder. If you do this, I'll have to give your script and your home address to Hannibal Lecter.

Number Three A: and don't try any of that Monkey's Paw Loophole baloney, and try to sneak under the radar of Unity Three by using somebody's Multiple Personality Disorder to frame them because the real killer knows about it. In this case, I will not only tell Dr Lecter about you, but I will recommend that he feed your liver to the remaining living members of the Bee Gees.

Nudity: Kelli Maroney got dressed on camera in bright light, and was stark naked at one point. Later on, she and Mantagna had a nighttime sex scene, and then a bit later Mantagna rescued her, with her drawers already down, from a rape situation in the ladies room of a downtown club.

Critical opinions were divided on this flick. The consensus of the few people who saw it was about 1.8 stars out of four.

IMDB members: scored it 6.0 out of 10, which is not so bad - the equivalent of a two and a half star movie. But Apollo Leisure Guide really ripped it. Apollo scored it only 40, and Apollo readers scored it even lower. Here's Apollo's review.

Video info from Amazon. It is not on DVD, and may never be.

Return to the home page