Wednesday, October 2, 2013
(October 1993, U.S.)
During my recent task of watching Harold Becker's film of MALICE again for the first time in many years in order to write this blog, I discovered two things: first is that this film was released exactly twenty years-ago yesterday. Second is that when it comes to true motion picture female sexiness, nothing beats Nicole Kidman, circa 1993, sitting on top of you with her long, curly hair draped over her shoulder wearing nothing but a flannel shirt and panties while feeding you take-out Chinese food with cheap wooden chop sticks and then getting naked to fuck your brains out while her perfectly round, sculpted naked ass is showing in the foreground (at this time, my wife should be taking notes!)! This is only a partial image of her in that scenario, but use it to your brain's sexually-imaginative content...
(frankly, if that isn't enough of a reason for any horny, hot-blooded heterosexual male to watch this film, I don't know what is!)
But seriously, let's talk about the film. During the early part of the 1990s, there was what seemed to be an onslaught of sexy, murder mystery thrillers that offered its fair share of shocks and twists that most would probably attribute to BASIC INSTINCT (1992) as its origin. However, go back a few years and you'll discover that it was also a Harold Becker film, SEA OF LOVE (1989) with Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin that really kicked things off. These films came in droves with a new breed of femme fatale, whom unlike the infamous ladies of the 1940s and 1950s, were willing to show some tits and ass for the sake of sexier screen excitement and higher ticket sales. These films were even parodied in a spoof called FATAL INSTINCT (1993), which I never saw but I understand it really sucked! If one were to look back and examine the examples of such films that were released during this time, then the plot, sub-plot, twists and turns of MALICE may not seem all that blow-your-mind-fantastic. However, where I feel MALICE succeeds over some others is not so much its star power, as Nicole Kidman, Alec Baldwin and Bill Pullman were still in the process of getting their stardom off of the ground, but rather some good solid acting that doesn't seek to go over the top in excess or campiness.
The story begins rather mild-mannered, in which teacher Tracy and college associate dean Andy (Kidman and Pullman), a seemingly happily married couple take in border and brilliant surgeon Dr. Jed Hill (Baldwin) in order to get extra money to restore their home in western Massachusetts. Life isn't all happy, though. It would seem there's a serial rapist on the loose who likes to attack college girls and cut off their hair and Tracy is experiencing mysterious abdominal pains while trying to get pregnant. She's inevitably hospitalized and ends up being operated on by Jed. In removing one of Tracy's ovaries, which has ruptured due to a cyst, Jed discovers Tracy's pregnancy, but the stress of the procedure causes the fetus to abort. He removes her second ovary in order to save her life, but that proves costly as his judgment call is wrong and the removal of a healthy ovary will now produce a huge legal settlement with the hospital. Tracy is now a rich woman and leaves her mild-mannered husband. All seems over and done with and unhappily-ever-after, yes? No. Of course not. If it did, then we wouldn't have a mystery here, would we? Through Andy's personal investigating, determination and an accidental discovery of a hypodermic needle, we all learn exactly who Tracy is; a ruthless, money-hungry, lying, deceitful bitch (but sexy...let's not forget SEXY!) who'll stop at nothing to get away with the very carefully-conceived scheme she's engineered against the hospital whom she was more than happy to sacrifice her ovaries to. And guess what? Dr. Jed Hill, a very disgruntled and resentful man, is in on it with her...oh, and he's also fucking her! Get the picture? Good guy Andy has been duped by the woman he once loved and the man he called his friend while they get filthy rich behind his back! But we also know that film cliché dictates the good guy will win and get justice in the end. Oh, and speaking of cliché, you'll have to decide for yourself if the inclusion of the isolated, rather sinister-looking house atop the treacherously-high cliff during a violent thunderstorm isn't a bit over the top or not.
Now you read earlier that I rather casually mentioned a serial rapist in this story. This is an interesting element because it's perhaps the only thriller I've ever seen where such a horrific set of circumstances serves as no more than an atmospheric sub-plot to the main story, and perhaps unnecessarily. By the time that matter is resolved and the rapist is caught during which we've been watching all the other business that takes place in the film, the only real purpose this entire sub-plot serves in the outline of the story is to establish the relationship Andy has with Detective Dana Harris (played Bebe Neuwirth), who as it turns out, will provide Andy with the first mysterious clue that will eventually lead him to discovering who his wife really is. That's it. Nothing more. In the end, though, the mystery surrounding the main characters and the fact that you get to see Nicole Kidman naked is enough to keep you interested so that the whole serial rapist thing is not such a big thing after all.
Favorite line or dialogue:
Tracy Safian (to Jed Hill): "Take me upstairs and fuck me!"
That, my fellow horny, hot-blooded heterosexual male friends, is what we'd all like to hear at least once in our lives (again, my wife should take notes!)! Though, in my case, we live in an apartment...no stairs.