Novocaine
Getaway. Frank and Susan (Martin and Bonham Carter) run from the cops...
dir-scr David Atkins
with Steve Martin, Helena Bonham Carter, Laura Dern, Elias Koteas, Scott Caan, Lynne Thigpen, Keith David, Karol Kent, Chelcie Ross, Polly Noonan, Preston Maybank, Kevin Bacon
release US 16.Nov.01; UK Feb.02
Artisan
01/US 1h35

4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
it's not just criminals who commit crime This twisty comic noir is thoroughly entertaining and even a bit scary. Martin stars as Dr Frank, a dentist with a perfect life, including a thriving practice and a vivacious assistant/finacee Jean (Dern). Then he finds himself attracted to Susan (Bonham Carter), a patient who's also a small time criminal junkie. And his low-life brother (Koteas) comes to stay. And Susan's thuggish brother (Caan) is causing problems too. Robbery, murder and police investigations ensue.

Atkins fills the film with wit and energy--both the script and direction crackle with black humour as he cleverly works in lots of dental sight gags (ouch!). And the cast plays on it perfectly, with Martin delivering yet another surprisingly layered comic performance. Bonham Carter goes from sultry to loony and back--effectively this time. Dern is hilarious as the control freak Jean, venting her inner rage through martial arts. And Bacon is very funny in an extended cameo. There's a definite Hitchcock vibe going on here as Frank finds himself getting deeper in trouble after one little mistake (followed by much bigger ones). As he says, "Lying is a lot like tooth decay ... one small lie and everything begins to unravel." As the characters get increasingly neurotic, the film gets just a bit too zany. But it's also a lot of fun.
adult themes and situations, drugs, language, violence cert 15 24.Oct.01 lff

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
it's not just criminals who commit crime send your review to Shadows... Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

HOME | AWARDS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK