From the Chicago Reader (May 1, 1993). — J.R.


Basic Instinct‘s Sharon Stone and that film’s screenwriter, Joe Eszterhas, reunite in a much less dynamic, erotic, and suspenseful thriller, this one about voyeurism rather than bondage (1993). It’s an adaptation of an Ira Levin novel about a shy Manhattan editor (Stone) who moves into an upscale apartment where the last tenant, whom she resembles, was murdered. She attracts the romantic interest of two neighbors — a successful crime writer (Tom Berenger) and a younger man (William Baldwin) who owns the building. Despite misleading flackery about this being somehow like Rear Window, it’s actually a high-tech rip-off of various notions and even shots from the lesser-known The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, Fritz Lang’s last film, about a hotel whose every room conceals a hidden TV camera. (In fact, this hasn’t a hint of the sexiness, style, or conceptual brilliance of either film.) Stone tries to prove she can act but only demonstrates that she can give good close-up; the script is full of holes and red herrings; and the direction of Phillip Noyce (Dead Calm, Patriot Games), who probably was hampered by producer Robert Evans and preview audiences breathing down his neck, never achieves much authority or coherence. With Polly Walker, Martin Landau, and Nina Foch. (JR)


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