Second Skin (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is the usual noir formula where nothing is what it pretends to be. 

Bookstore owner is visited by woman looking for a job. He turns her down. As she leaves his shop, she is hit by a car, and the accident causes her to get amnesia.

Amnesia is probably my second favorite corny plot device after the evil twin.

Anyway, he's not really a book store owner, she doesn't really have amnesia.

She has a boyfriend in town, or is he some guy sent to rein her in from some job? She seems to have amnesia and not remember the boyfriend, then she seems to be working with the boyfriend against the bookstore owner, then she seems to be working with the bookstore owner against the boyfriend. They all seem to be double-crossing a psychopathic Cleveland mobster who like to ride in cars where the rich Corinthian leather is tanned from human skin. 


Natasha Henstridge was seen naked from behind as she rose from a bathtub. Here breasts were seen from the side.
 It's all about two million dollars. Nothing is what it seems.

It's just a typical unremarkable genre film except for 

  • some very lovely photography in a few inspired scenes.
  • the fact that it retains an uncompromised, unsentimental tone. Every time you expect some warmth, it offers another cold-blooded double cross, right up to the every end. I like it when a genre picture stays in character.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • no meaningful features

It's a disappointment for some of the people involved: 

Director Darryl Roodt made the excellent South African version of Cry, the Beloved Country with Richard Harris and James Earl Jones. Actually, he did a good job on Second Skin as well, but I'm surprised to see him apply his talent to a project with so little merit.

Angus McFadyen? I thought he had a real career! I was not only surprised to see him slumming here, but was shocked that he did it so poorly. He can be and has been much better than this. 

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews on line. scored it 1.5/4

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.4. That is too low, in my opinion. It is not The Maltese Falcon, but it is a watchable genre film. I'd expect it to score about a point higher.
  • With their dollars ... I don't think it ever got a theatrical distribution deal. It was produced for $3.5 million, went straight to cable. 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-.

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