Even the considerable efforts of a semi A-list cast (at least they used to be) can’t save this film. Off the mark and blunt writing means it struggles to hold your attention, while I can’t quite figure out why they named it ‘Breathless’…
It’s something to do with a vengeful Texan wife (Gina Gershon) trying to get back at her sleazebag double crossing husband. She calls a friend for help and then the local sheriff (Ray Liotta) shows up just when things start to get messy.
Let’s go with crime enthusiasts. But, really, seek your entertainment thrills elsewhere.
In all honesty this movie had some sliver of potential, but the writers then decided to stretch that sliver and pound it into something dull and flat. Why? – Firstly, it’s set up as a ‘single set film’ so all the ‘action’/intrigue takes place in one location – in this instance, a trailer. Now films of this nature can work, when done right – think of Twelve Angry Men as an example, where all the characters occupy the same area and interact with each throughout the film – but in Breathless’ case, the dialogue never really grabs you, hence the boredom.
The other major flaw is that there are no sympathetic characters, so you don’t really care what happens to whom or why, and who eventually gets away with murder and the cash (because money and murder go hand in hand)… Bad guys can be a crowd favourite if they’re at least funny or something, but in this film, there are no likeable characters, accept maybe for the brief cameo by scene-stealing Wayne Duvall, who needed more screen time because the moment he arrived the film became somewhat intriguing and funny (he’s the mayoral candidate in ‘O Brother where art thou’ with that immortal line “Is you is, or is ain’t my constituents?” – in Breathless he has about nine strands of hair combed over his balding scalp).
Anyway, like I said, this movie did NOT take my breath away, so on that score the title makes no sense. Val Kilmer was slightly miss-cast, even if the role was a small one (as Dale, the double crossing husband). Basically the film probably worked as an idea, but fell well short in most parts after that. The actors try their best to breathe life into the flat script, but at times it feels forced.
About Steven Benjamin:
A Capetonian – the only son, amongst four siblings, of a demure working mother and a missionary (once upon a time) for a father. Humble and God fearing, I’m a writer looking to add a different perspective whilst also telling stories on the side. I’ve lugubriously turned to writing after failing in a mental attempt to become a Formula 1 driver. I’m currently also working on my spicy debut novel, The Quiet Days!