The Curve (Dead Man's Curve) (1998)

l_39610_0123034_3c1cb618This film reminded me of my favorite Hitchcock movie of all time “Rope”. Two high class men decide to join together and murder to see if they can not only beat the system, but somehow gain some personal conquest in the process. The problem is I’ve seen so many movies like “The Curve”, it fails to even come close to comparing to “Rope”. What also becomes evident at the start of the film is that the plot is immensely far-fetched; I don’t know if what’s explained in the film is true, and I could care less, but it hardly seems like motivation for murdering someone, of course is there any sensible motivation?

Anyway, director Daniel Rosen feels that instead of explaining to audiences at the opener, he’ll play a broadcast of some comedian talking about the potential motive for the murders. We don’t see the characters Chris and Tim talking about the plan, and maybe it wasn’t best to leave it to the audiences imagination. Daniel Rosen leaves it up to the audience to hear the news from the comedian, then makes a blunder by having it explained to us by every character in the film repeatedly almost as if he didn’t have any confidence in his opening scenes, and maybe it was smartest that way. If your roommate commits suicide you instantly pass? I wonder who was drunk when they passed that rule. Of course this drives some people to consider trying this on innocent college – goers, but the problem is Rosen never gives a truly reasonable argument for the character’s motives.

We know that Tim is a high class college student, so why shouldn’t he just get through college with the help of his money? We know Rand is rich, why not have him do the same? Instead they just look like psychos looking for a thrill, and there’s never a good argument as to why they’d be psychos in the first place. What also makes the film hard to believe is the lack of atmosphere and tension. Clocking in at only an hour and a half there’s no room for character development. Rosen wants to create a psychological thriller where we don’t know which character to trust, but there’s never enough emphases to become involved within the characters and storyline, instead it’s all saved up for the climax, and the rest feels like filler. Matthew Lillard does what he does best, he plays the crazy guy, the out of control guy. Does this dude know how to play any other personality but that one?

Even in “Scooby Doo” he has that psychotic essence to him. For a guy that’s supposed to be the villain (or is he?) he’s not very convincing and seems more obnoxious. Randall Batinkoff is truly convincing as the pompous cruel Rand who abuses his girlfriend mentally and brings her down emotionally, but, there’s not enough of an argument to convince us why he’s the way he is, instead Rosen proclaims when Tim is talking about Rand: “Rand has always had a bit of a mean-streak in him.” Is that it? It’s that simple for someone to be so cruel as we witness within the film? Keri Russell has little to nothing to do in this film and doesn’t help add to the story until the finisher, as well as Dana Delany who has a measly little role as the school psychologist. Also, was there any reason why the detective characters (Anthony Griffith, Bo Dietl) were in this film in the first place? Their characters were not only annoying, obnoxious, and badly acted, but they were incredible tacked on and out place within the story, and they never truly served a purpose in the end.

Good job to Michael Vartan for underplaying his role as good guy Chris who is involved in the murders taking place in the film. He manages to really downplay every action and becomes a truly likable hero. He was great as the teacher in “Never Been Kissed”, and is good in “Alias”. But he’s hardly believable as a college man; what is he like twenty-seven or something? Anyways, I managed to thoroughly enjoy the climax of the film, it’s teeming with atmosphere, tension, and truly haunting character development that the entire first and second half of the film lacks in. Rosen fumbles through a talented cast and fails to being about a truly convincing film. The directing is unusually bright for a thriller, often times he has no idea how to instill fear into the audience, and creates a script that is not only sloppy, but lacks any real interest and logic. A sloppy, far-fetched, contrived, and clichéd mess with a talented cast wasted beneath the muddled script.