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movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Jade

Starring: Linda Fiorentino, David Caruso
Director: William Friedkin
Rated: R
RunTime: 96 Minutes
Release Date: October 1995
Genres: Drama, Erotica, Suspense

*Also starring: Chazz Palminteri, Michael Biehn, Richard Crenna, Donna Murphy, Ken King, Holt McCallany, David Hunt, Angie Everhart

Review by Dragan Antulov
½ star out of 4

Human mind has a tendency to remember the good and forget the bad times. At least some people involved in the movie industry should appreciate the fact that money atrocious films tend to sink to oblivion. Otherwise reputation of many talented people would forever be marred by single mistakes, while many titles would forever be remembered not only as bad films but also as terrible career choices. One the films who demonstrates the healing power of oblivion is JADE, 1995 erotic thriller directed by William Friedkin.

The plot, based on the screenplay by Joe Eszterhasz, is set in Francisco and begins with the brutal murder of rich industrialist. The investigation is led by prosecutor David Corelli (played by David Caruso) who discovers photographs with California governor Lew Edwards (played by Richard Crenna) in most compromising position. Apart from political considerations, Corelli's investigation is additionally complicated due to more personal reasons - the murder weapon has the fingerprints belonging to Trina Gavin (played by Linda Fiorentino), psychologist who used to be Corelli's former girlfriend and who is now married to Corelli's best friend, defence attorney Matt Gavin (played by Chazz Palminteri).

Like in many of his thrillers, erotic or otherwise, Eszterhasz tries to compensate the lack of common sense and likeable characters with the "saucy" details that are supposed to give exotic, or even controversial, flavour to routine crime story. Unfortunately, director William Friedkin has little patience or willingness to put together chaotic and often incomprehensible plot and instead concentrates on the thing he does best - car chase. Since JADE contains only one such scene, the rest of the film is way bellow the standards that we are supposed to expect from someone who directed films like FRENCH CONNECTION and THE EXORCIST. Actors are even more disappointing. David Caruso sleepwalks through lead role and thus, shortly after his well-publicised departure from NYPD BLUE, becomes a poster boy for Hollywood stars who made bad career choices. His partner Linda Fiorentino fares marginally better, obviously unable to exploit her femme fatale potential so well-demonstrated in THE LAST SEDUCTION. Chazz Palminteri looks like his trying to give some meat to his role, but his efforts can't defeat Eszterhasz's and Friedkin's ineptness. Finally, Michael Biehn terribly overacts in the role of policeman. The only good thing about JADE, apart from car chase, is nice photography by Andrzej Bartkowiak. "Erotic" dimension of this thriller is supposed to be found in couple of "steamy" scenes (which were denied to American audience due to MPAA's puritan standards and left untouched in European version), but they are hardly erotic, mostly due to bad editing and the impression of being artificial inserted into JADE from another film. All in all, JADE is a film that deserved its descent into oblivion.

Copyright 2002 Dragan Antulov

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