movieThemes: Alan Rickman
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JUDAS KISS (1998)

Cast: Simon Baker-Denny, Gill Bellows, Emma Thompson, , Til Schweiger, Carla Gugino
Director: Sebastian Gutierrez
Producers: Elaine Dysinger, Carla Gugino
Screenplay: Deanna Fuller, Sebastian Gutierrez
Cinematography: James Chressanthis
Music: Christopher Young
Approximate Running Time: 98 minutes
Warnings: Swearing, semi-nudity, violence
Rating:

Category: Mystery/Crime/Noir

The Plot: Two-bit small time hustlers Coco Chavez (Carla Gugino) and Junior Armstrong (Simon Denny-Baker) stumble onto a 'sure thing' - kidnap a genius with a tech company and the company automatically pays $4million ransom. So, they rope in genius, Lizard (Gil Bellows) and hitman, Ruben Rubenbauer (Til Shweiger) to help them pull it off. However, during the kidnapping, something goes horribly wrong and not only are they liable for kidnapping but murder as well. Enter FBI agent Sadie Hawkins (Emma Thompson) and New Orleans Detective David Friedman (Alan Rickman)

Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman as jaded cops in Judas KissComment: Judas Kiss is essentially a rehash of many a cheesy cop/sleazey criminal storylines, but first time writer/director, Gutierrez embues the film with a light-hearted feel as if all along, he is gently mocking the genre but respects it at the same time. It is possibly a little to light to really be considered in the Noir category, but the film is a fun romp to watch anyway.

Set in New Orleans, the cast of Judas Kiss consists entirely of actors with not a southern bone in their bodies. This 'minor' detail does rather detract significantly from the film and Judas Kiss would probably have faired a lot better with audiences if it had been filmed over 24 hours one hot summers day in New York or Chicago. However, Carla Gugino is wonderfully sexy as the female component of this quartet of kidnappers and breathily sways her way through the plot. Simon Baker-Denny looks like a young James Dean - sure to capture a few hearts and switches from one role to another that he must be marked as an actor with potential...

Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman provide most of the comedy in this film - which makes the film quite enjoyable, but on the other hand, detracts from how dark it could have been. The only regret I had watching it is Sadie's manner of getting past the cliche situation between cops pretty much leaves nothing to develop between her and Detective Friedman as the film unfolds. It could have been so much stronger... However, Thompson and Rickman do make the film that much more enjoyable and must have had a good time acting competently in these roles for which most people wouldn't associate with them.

The one thing everyone comments on when seeing this film is the accents... However, the actors give it their best! The most obvious targets are Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson - two accomplished and well recognized british actors. Rickman manages for the most part to speak with some semblance of a southern drawl with only the occasional lapses into his native english - more with words than sentences. Thompson on the other hand, is terrible and butchers the soft drawl and sounds like she is rolling marbles around in her mouth... But little mention is made of the other actors. Bellows, Gugino are both American actors who make a half-hearted attempt at a southern drawl if at all. Hal Holbrook who plays the Louisiana senator makes no attempt and my experience in the Deep South is you don't want someone who isn't one of your own in Government. Simon Baker-Denny may not have the most perfect southern accent (but he's got 'Sweetie' down just fine...), but lets give him the credit for being completely undetectable as an Australian. Til Schweiger wasn't required to have a southern drawl and so he doesn't.

Judas Kiss is actually a lot more fun than it deserves to be and improves with a second viewing - possibly because in the first time you are struggling to watch the plot unfold and at the same time, listen aghast to the accents. The second viewing leaves you free to focus just on the film and appreciate how much fun it is.

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