Pendulum (2001)

Primal Instinct

The first howler in this is the notion that Texas hosts the “finest law school in the south,” as if it were possible — and if would matter if it was. Of course, once we are introduced to a DA running for Congress, we know who the villain is. Having made that scriptwriting error, we wait to see whether the author will redeem himself with suitable twists along the way. And he nearly satisfies. There is a rather interesting red herring in an old case of “justified” homicide which is cleverly introduced. There are the double red herrings of two fishy lesbians, obviously engineered for prurient seasoning and to reference Turteltaub’s “Instinct.” There is an unexploited narrative fold: we see the murder through a witness’s eye and then see the detection through a detective’s eye.

It comes pretty close to acceptable story-wise. All the acting and directing is much worse except for one example, a woman with a mellifluous name, and the appearance of a young Nichole Kidman. If this were an intelligent film, say a Lynch project, her role as double narrator and provider (as librarian) of the backstory would have been a fine opportunity for folded acting. The director is oblivious of course, but either she or her acting coach knew — but you can tell she tried this difficult approach. She’s on my list to look out for.

Though the murderer is easy to spot, the meaning of the title is not. I suppose it refers to the ex-husband, who (we assume) swings both ways.

Posted in 2003

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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