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A KISS BEFORE DYING: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Realising his secret girl-friend Dorothy Carlsson's (Sean Young) pregnancy will sour her relations with her ultra-rich father, Thor (Max von Sydow), career-minded Philadelphia student Jonathan Corliss (Matt Dillon) coolly murders her, making it look like suicide. He then moves to New York to woo her twin sister Ellen (Sean Young). All seems to go well for him, although Ellen's continued investigations into what she is convinced was no suicide forces him to kill again.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Most unkindly (but amusingly), the 1992 Razzie Awards gave Sean Young both the Worst Actress and Worst Supporting Actress Awards - for playing the twin who survives and the twin who's murdered respectively. Perhaps that's unkind, and perhaps it's the fault of a screenplay that makes her seem like she knows what we know ... But Max von Sydow as Thor and Matt Dillon as Jonathan make up for any shortcomings in the acting department as does Diane Ladd as Jonathan's mother.

Dillon, especially, at a critical time in his career (right after Drugstore Cowboy), shows a powerful technique and deep resources as he fashions Jonathan into a character only we can truly see. To everyone around him, Jonathan is a handsome, open and caring young man with a desire to do the right thing and be a good husband - if and when he can marry Thor's daughter. Only we know the truth about him, and this provides that thrilling edge to the film's progress. We see him capable of murder without blinking. The fact that he can kill so easily - and then slip into Ellen's bed with a cool excuse - gives us the insight into what kind of man he really is. And this makes Ellen's determination to find out the truth about her twin sister's death extremely dangerous.

I have one quibble with the story, though: we are not shown how Jonathan meets Ellen once he gets to New York, after Dorothy's death. This leaves a question mark that irritates throughout the rest of the film, despite the engaging story and the tension that buzzes like a deadly bee around the characters.

Published May 21, 2009

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

A KISS BEFORE DYING: DVD (M)
(US, 1999)

CAST: Sean Young, Matt Dillon, Max von Sydow, Martha Gehman, Jim Fyfe, Shane Rimmer, James Russo, Diane Ladd, Adam Horovitz

PRODUCER: Robert Lawrence

DIRECTOR: James Dearden

SCRIPT: James Dearden (novel by Ira Levin)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mike Southon

EDITOR: Michael Bradsell

MUSIC: Howard Shore

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jim Clay

RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 2.0

SPECIAL FEATURES: none

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Shock

DVD RELEASE: September 1, 2008







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