Wednesday, September 16, 2015


1993's Malice is your typical thriller, except for the fact that everyone involved isn't typical at all. Written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Newsroom, and Sports Night) and Scott Frank (Out of Sight, the underrated Heaven's Prisoners, and The Lookout) and starring Alec Baldwin, Nicole Kidman, and Bill Pullman, the story takes an expected number of twists and turns down a dark road until the truth is fully revealed. And you also may have heard of its cinematographer Gordon Willis who shot a little series known as The Godfather Trilogy.

The story centers around a young couple (Pullman and Kidman) whose lives are shattered when their friend (Baldwin) operates on her making a mistake in surgery that costs her the ability to have children. The fallout for the couple and the doctor leads to grief, a lawsuit, and the husband to begin looking into a situation that he discovers is far more complicated than he ever imagined.

Director Harold Becker's (Sea of Love) film is notable for a single scene featuring Alec Baldwin at his most egotistical. The entire film is worth a look, as much for performances and look as story, but this is undoubtedly the highlight. Released for the first time on Blu-ray, sadly the movie includes on trailers as extras.

The screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and Scott Frank gives us a world of mirrors and shadows before slowly peeling away each layer as Andy (Pullman) learns the truth about himself, his unborn child, that fateful night at the hospital, and his wife’s past. The subplot involving a serial rapist in the neighborhood never really reaches a satisfactory conclusion but it does dovetail into Andy taking back control of his life.

Although Malice isn't a great definition by anyone’s standards it does hold up as a better than average entry into the thriller/plot-twist genre. And it does has it’s moments, such as Baldwin's "God Complex" speech. Baldwin isn’t the only one who performs well here. Pullman provides a terrific guide as a man who slowly realizes how little he truly knows about his life, his wife, and the world around him on his journey to discover the truth and Kidman is just angry and bitchy enough on screen to enjoy.

There are also some nice supporting performances put in by Anne Bancraft as Tracy’s mother, which provides another nice scene about deception and scotch, and Bebe Neuwirth as a cop who investigates Andy for the rapes around town. Close movie watchers may also want to keep an eye out for a young Gwyneth Paltrow in one of her earliest roles as one of the rapist’s victims and George C. Scott as Dr. Jed’s mentor.

[Kino Studio Classics, $29.95]

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