11 APRIL 1992, Page 38


Freejack ('15', selected cinemas) Deceived ('1 5', selected cinemas)

Flash trash

Vanessa Letts

Freejack is trash of the first order. Its makers were savvy enough not to spend much money on it. After five minutes of

1991, we leap forward permanently 18 years to a world where scientific equipment is coated in silver foil and top medics con- duct operations using cling-film. Clearly the cheapskate approach is deliberate. Despite nuclear fall-out, no one bothers, as films of this sort usually do, to jazz up the background with mutant extras. There is only one rat in the whole film. Plot twists as diverse as executions and mind-swaps are achieved with the same thin crackle of blue electricity. The New York of 2009 has just one extra skyscraper superimposed upon it. Far from being annoying, these economies lend the film an unexpected, olde-worlde charm.

The best thing about it is the English people in the cast. The three main baddies, including Mick Jagger and Anthony Hop- kins (who, being in the future, must already have known about his Oscar award), man- age to run the gamut from sneaking duplic- ity to brazen rowdyism. The American team members have problems in the height department. In long shot Emilio Estevez is a startling three inches shorter than his girlfriend, while whenever we see them chatting in close-up he is slightly the taller. This is so noticeable as to provide alterna- tive interest to the story itself.

The plot is a combination of Terminator I and Total Recall, without aspiring to the sophistication of either. There is a ten- minute lull in the middle, but in general

the film is gripping. The usual hackneyed chase scenes are saved from tedium by Mick Jagger's jolly attitude towards captur- ing his victims.

I was relieved to find myself enjoying Freejack after having sat through the .truly and unsuccessfully dreadful Deceived. This is one of those films where you wonder where the hell the policeman has got to, why nobody has any relations and how peo- ple who console their friends with lines like 'You can intrude on my space any time' can possibly be top-flight art historians and dealers. It is maddening that characters in a film like this have to be so rich in order for the plot to work. None of them seems to deserve it.

The film progressed from soap opera happy marriage to 'terrifying' thriller to bigamy set-up to bigamy set-up revelations and fortuitous deaths. Deceived was Goldie Hawn's great bid for dramatic seriousness. But while she bit her lower lip often, we didn't bite ours. She kept looking empty and distressed and it all got to be a bore. Meanwhile, in a bizarre piece of casting, the incredibly plastic John Heard was required to play a man faking somebody being plastic. This was too confusing for your reviewer. When he was revealed to be a pathological nutter, this came over as a complete joke. I don't ask for much when I go to the cinema, I can enjoy hackneyed effects when they are done well, but this

film made a hash even of hackneyed effects.

For those who admire the masterworks Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, now is the moment to catch up on four of Martin Scorsese's early short films. The Big Shave is a single joke that shouldn't be revealed, and the other three films are unexpectedly funny also. As a foursome they are cumula- tively entertaining. The only drawback is having to see them at the ICA, where young men in leather singlets make you feel rather inadequate.