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February 16, 1987 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-02-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

A

Page 8- The Michigan Daily- Monday, February 16, 1987

'Black Widow': An intriguing, albeit empty web

By John Shea
Black Widow, Bob Rafelson's
new film, opens with a contrast of
two lives: Catharine (Theresa
Russell), a beautiful, mysterious
woman, sobbing on her bed after
poisoning her wealthy husband, and
Alexandra Barnes (Debra Winger), a
worn-out federal agent who has
spent the past six years of her life
staring into a green screen,
analyzing statistical data for the
Justice Department. It's a night-
and-day contrast, but both characters
are interesting, intriguing; we're
slowly drawn into their lives.
Catharine remarries and kills again;
Alex notices the similarities in the
two deaths and begs her boss to let
her pursue the case, if only to
escape the monotony of her job, her
life. The boss isn't too keen on
letting her go, so she quits and
pursues this elusive beauty around
the country.
No suprises there; nothing new.
But then, half way through the
film, just when we've been sitting

back and calling every shot on the
screen, Alex catches up with
Catharine and a suprising thing
happens; they become friends.
That's a facinating plot twist;
something that's been sorely absent
in recent thrillers. It's a mistake,
however, to label Black Widow as
a "thriller," as it becomes what
most of director Bob Rafelson's
films (Five Easy Pieces, The
Postman Always Rings Twice) do;
a study in psychology. As in
Pieces, Rafelson methodically
draws and defines the borders of the
main characters while letting the
audience interpret what lies beneath
the surface. Rafelson and screen -
writer Ron Bass take well over an
hour drawing the lines of the
individual characters. And when
their paths cross, we see a strong
bond grow between Winger and
Russell; even though we're never
quite sure what the attraction is. It's
this ambiguity that makes Black
Widow a potential first-rate
psychological "thriller;" it has the
audience thinking. Is Catharine on
to Alex? Is Alex attracted to

Catharine? And when Catharine and
Alex both fall in love with the
same man (Sami Frey), what
possesses Catharine to step aside
and let Alex have him, only to
come back and steal him away at
the last moment?
They're all interesting questions,
and leave many interesting paths for
Rafelson and Bass to take. What's
so unfortunate, and even
unforgivable, is that they elect to
take none; they give up. After
spending all this time spinning an
intriguing web, they tear it right
down with a predictable ending, an
ending one might expect to find in
a made-for-TV movie. It leaves one
wondering why they went to all the
trouble in the first place.
Somewhat wasted here is a very
good performance by Russell, who
not only captivates but convinces

us that she really did love her
husbands before poisoning them.
Winger, who showed such a
delightful aloofness in An Officer
and a Gentleman, may have been
miscast as Alex. With this role, she
isn't allowed to be sexy or perky;
just tired-looking. She appeared to
be asleep at times. And except for
the end, Rafelson does a credible
job directing; his use of lighting to
contrast the two lives of Alex and
Catharine, and an erotic scene in a
swimming pool, stand out. But
when one makes a "psychological
thriller," the ending is perhaps the
most important part of the film; I
suspect Rafelson needs to study
Hitchcock just a little longer. Black
Widow spins an aesthetically
beautiful web; the problem is
someone took a broom to it before
the spider was done.

4

4

4

Those

who

succeed
read

Daibj
Daily,

Sami Frey doesn't know what he's
Theresa Russell in 'Black Widow.'

getting into as he cuddles deadly

GEORGE DAY
STEREO SALE
1 DAY ONLY e"MON., FEB16
1am to 9 pm
ithe teo
605 E. William (Just West of State), Ann Arbor

The Michigan

Impact Jazz goes
for the 'Solid Gold'

4

--l I I I -' loomw

(Continued from Page 7)
pretation worked best for the comp-
any and made for some of the better
pieces. The sultry music combined
with the smoky atmosphere of the
dance was as sucessful a combin-
ation as Van Knox III was with his
partners.
"Cheers" with its use of bright
lights, bar setting, music of the
Manhattan Transfer and the good
dance from its cast also showed
some potential. Kristi Davis im-
plemented the skills of Brad
Appleton and Van Knox III well to
help pull this dance together.
Where pieces in the concert
didn't really work came in the over
reliance of Solid Gold style cheese-
cake, overuse of Genesis for its
musical component and a lack of
rehearsal time that became apparant
with mis-timed steps and dull
movement Their were times when
the impulse of the music obscured

the dance and when some of the
dance conceived did not fit the
music.
Solid Gold has never been my
favorite television show, it's banal
choreography was usually an excuse
to show off as much high cut leg or
low cut leotard as was allowable on
TV. I don't think you need to rely
on it to make a dance work. How
well someone can fall into a split
fits in a cheerleading routine and
not necessarily in jazz dance. The
make-up of the company is
expected to change with the next
academic year, let's hope that some
of the folks involved will stay
around to contribute their touch to
the company.
A mixed bag certainly, but there
was also some unrealized potential
ttat with a little more time devoted
tbperfecting their art can only
bring about better results.

wUVrus rrrv
ATTENTION BSN
CLASS OF 1987.
The Air Force has a special pro-
gram for 1987 BSNs. If selected,
you can enter active duty soon
after graduation--without waiting
for the results of your State Boards.
To qualify, you must have an
overall "B" average. After commis-
sioning, you'll attend a five-month
internship at a major Air Force
medical facility, It's an excellent
way to prepare for the wide range
of experiences you'll have serving
your country as an Air Force nurse
officer. For more information, call

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Special Student Offer for month of February:
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TEACHING ASSISTANT
**** OPENINGS IN ****
WOMEN'S STUDIES
Summer 1987, Fall 1987, Winter 1988
Applications available in the
Women's Studies Program Office
234 WEST ENGINEERING
763-2047
Applications DUE by 4 p.m.- Monday, March 2, 1987
SKI * SLED * SKATE * SLIDE * SLIP
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