Saturday, August 04, 2018

Re-viewing - THE SHADOW (1994)


The other night I revisited THE SHADOW for the first time since the late 1990s. The reason for this is because the film is now available on Blu-ray and I can hardly resist such a temptation. I was one of the millions of people who was disappointed by the film when it debuted in theaters in 1994. As a fan of heroic pulp fiction and The Shadow in particular I was let down by the fact that the film seemed to be a series of excellent sequences held together by a very thin story that often flew apart. At the time I felt that the script didn't allow the overall structure of the story to take shape well enough before another big set-piece came along to get the audience heart rate up again. Although across the 90s I watched the film several times I always came away frustrated that although the movie has a number of great scenes, a wonderful cast, some good action sequences, fine period and an excellent score it just didn't gel for me. And I have always felt that I could pinpoint the problem - the film's director.

Russell Mulcahy is an Australian director that got his start in music videos and far too often it shows. Mulcahy is in love with the constantly floating camera. If you've ever seen his 1986 film HIGHLANDER you'll recognize the style of camerawork I'm referencing. He shoots everything with the camera in motion and, while that can sometimes be interesting, it frequently draws attention to itself in a distracting way. In THE SHADOW he can't seem to stop himself from nonsensically circling the actors so much that I am surprised the cameraman didn't run into the actors. It's ridiculous! And it also draws attention to the points in the movie where bits of dialog has been edited out leaving a few holes that have to be ignored or papered over.


But, imagine my surprise when - 24 years after my initial viewing of this film - I revisit it and find myself really enjoying it. A lot! That's not to say that the irritating, flawed bits were less irritating but they took me out of the film less than in past viewings. I found myself really having fun - even some parts that I had previously been truly irritated by were interesting. The feel of the film is about 85% right and it looks fantastic. Maybe it is just that I was happy to see this story again after so long but I was truly glad to be watching this movie. And I'd love to see some deleted scenes if this ever gets another fancy release!


1 comment:

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