movieThemes: Alan Rickman
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DARK HARBOR (1999)

Cast: Alan Rickman, Polly Walker, Norman Reedus
Director: Adam Coleman Howard
Producers: John N. Hart, Jr, Jeffrey Sharp, Justin Lazard
Screenplay: Adam Coleman Howard
Cinematography: Walt Lloyd
Music: David Mansfield
Approximate Running Time: 89 Minutes
Warnings: Nudity, swearing
Rating:

Category: Thriller/mystery

Alan Rickman in Dark HarborThe Plot: As David (Alan Rickman) and Alexis Weinberg (Polly Walker) race through a torrential downpour to catch the last ferry home, Alexis spies someone collapsing by the roadside. Against his better judgment, David reverses and they get out to check the stranger. They end up taking him as far as the ferry before parting ways. However, fate throws the trio together again. Undercurrents of tension swirl between the three and things build to a horrific climax.

Comment: The film starts off with all the brooding and menacing threat that overhangs Alfred Hitchcock's greater films, although the editing is a bit merciless, creating a choppy feel to the film instead of letting it flow. However, half way through the film, the plot begins to unravel - literally - and one wonders if Coleman had a great idea, managed to get funding etc. for the film - and didn't quite have the ending sussed out...

Polly Walker was marvelous as the WASP wife of David Weinberg, the real one with money and power. Her luminosity lit up the screen like all the great Hitchcock women, Kim Novak, Tippy Hedren... If anyone was considering remaking a Hitchcock classic, then she should be considered a prime candidate (although, I personally think Hitchcock made his films perfect the first time...). Walker hides nothing, and as Alexis' life unravels, her collapse is beautifully echoed through Walker.

I can't imagine what Norman Reedus was trying to achieve, beyond the fact he had all the personality and on screen chemistry of a cold fish, when interacting with David and Alexis Weinberg . This rather meant that although he looked the part as a bum wandering the Maine countryside, his character's ongoing interaction with the Weinbergs has a bit of an unreal atmosphere to it. Anyone in their right mind would have ditched him at the ferry and tried to avoid all contact thereafter!

David Weinberg is portrayed by Alan Rickman with an American accent. Personally, an American accent coming from Rickman's vocal chords reduces the power and performance of this great actor - or so it seems in this film... Rickman's portrayal of David Weinberg is excellent and risqué, but when the plot fell apart... I'm not sure Rickman's portrayal of David Weinberg became robotic because Rickman couldn't believe in the actions of his character or this was how Weinberg was portrayed in Coleman's mind as he wrote the script. Either way, it makes for rather painful watching as the plot and film stumble towards the 'twist' at the end.

It's hard to recommend this film to anyone but fans of the three main cast members. The first half of the film is thoroughly enjoyable and had a lot of potential. The second half deteriorates, although Alan Rickman and Polly Walker do their best. It's one of those films that ends up frustrating one as it could have been excellent with better editing and a bit more thought into devising a better conclusion.

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