Lawrence Kasdan's 1981 noir fable is highly derivative in its overall conception, but it finds some freshness in its details—which is what you might expect from the screenwriter of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back. Surprisingly, Kasdan shows more flair as a director than a writer: his images have a dark, overripe poetry that his pastiche dialogue definitely does not. William Hurt effectively compresses his charisma down to the wimpy dimensions of Double Indemnity's Fred MacMurray as a likable, corruptible Florida lawyer, but Kathleen Turner's femme fatale never comes to life. All in all, this evokes the spirit of James M. Cain more effectively than the 1981 remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice did, but that isn't entirely a compliment: one wishes that Kasdan had had the courage to try something truly his own. With Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, and Mickey Rourke. 113 min.
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