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Forlani's best performance, but not the most well written story
This movie has been released on DVD under the title "Gone Dark". I'm not sure why the title was changed, it doesn't help the story much. Basically the story is as follows: Forlani plays an undercover cop who has infiltrated a New York drug gang. To get closer to the main drug kingpin and gain his trust she becomes his girlfriend, and in the process she becomes addicted to heroin. To make matters even more complicated she is also involved with the kingpin's "right hand man" Denny, who happens to live in the same building as May, played by Lauren Bacall.
Denny and May connect in one way only: May constantly gets Denny's mail in her box and vice versa. When we first meet May she is exchanging mail w/Denny as he and Monica make their way to his apartment. Monica sees that May always gets Denny's mail by mistake.
When Denny turns up dead, the police come knocking on May's door, asking questions about Denny, and giving the assumption that it was a suicide. May has no answers for them, but when they leave she immediately checks her mail for the day. She finds she has a package that was addressed to Denny. A package that includes a gun and a tape. May doesn't know it but the tape contains incriminating information that Denny recorded about Monica, information that could blow Monica's cover and put her in danger of going to jail herself, if she doesn't get the package before her bosses do. Thus begins the game of Monica feeling out May for info on the package.
Monica knows May has been getting Denny's mail and if she can just get into May's apartment to look around she might find the information before it is turned over to the police. Monica eventually gets into the apartment and she finds the envelope that was addressed to Denny, but it is empty and May has hidden the contents, now desperate, Monica takes May hostage and refuses to release her until she gives up the contents of the package. May's life now depends on outlasting a strung out Monica who needs a "fix" in the worst way and needs the contents of that package asap.
It's an interesting story, but the film is told in reverse flashbacks, so pay attention, or you could get confused real quick. I saw a DVD screener of this movie and found myself repeating a scene just to figure out where the storyline was. That's a good sign you are going to get frustrated with the continuity of the story. I had a few problems with this story that are annoying as well. I never understood why Bacall's character does what she does. She knows her neighbor is dead. She knows the police are suspicious but they don't say why. She also knows she has a piece of his mail that she should turn over to the police. Not only does she not do this, but she opens the package and if the contents are not enough to scare her off, she decides to hide the items as well, as if she knows Monica is going to come looking for them. I mean Bacall's character is an old woman fighting to keep her independence and stay out of a nursing home, did she decide she was bored and wanted some action at this stage of her life? I suppose if May had not involved herself then there would have been no need for her in the story. But come on, common sense would tell anyone that an old lady who really has no way to defend herself should know better. There is also a guy who is completely unconvincing as May's physical therapist. He looks like someone who would rip her off in a minute. I won't spoil who he turns out to be at the end.
Denny, played with conviction by Henry Czerny, has his own agenda. He helps his boss set up Monica, at the same time he plays both sides of the fence because Monica discovers he is also turning states evidence for the police. And it appears that Monica is horribly used by everyone around her: the drug dealer she is trying to bust, by Denny who falsely acts like he wants to help her get clean of the drugs, and worst of all by the police who fail to realize that she is in way too deep trying to bust this drug dealer to begin with. In fact, that's just what this movie should have been titled, "In too Deep". Because this is exactly where the lead character winds up. Not to spoil anything, but as a viewer I was left disgusted that certain people don't get what they deserve, and Monica gets something she definitely did not deserve. You'll have to watch the film to find out who gets what.
As for the performances here, Lauren Bacall was the first billed of this film understandably so, since she is the bigger star. But the lead character is Forlani, and she clearly offers the most depth to her character than anyone else. I love Lauren Bacall but her portrayal of May was flat and unaffecting, she never really acts as if she is scared or truly believes that Monica is desperate enough to kill her. She is too emotionless and acts as if she could care less. I know her character is trying to outlast Forlani's but she struck me as bland and not concerned enough about her situation.
It must have been a dream come true for Forlani to work with a legend, but Forlani clearly delivers the better performance. Forlani is a master with an American accent, in this film it is also a New York accent. She conveys the hopelessness that she eventually faces as she sinks further and further into drugs while trying not to blow her cover. She shows us the pain of a desperate junkie and the futile efforts she makes to save herself.
This is a different role for Forlani, one where she gets to shine as a lead and show off her acting chops. This is an actress that certainly deserves more recognition and should be offered roles with more substance like this one.
I'm not sure why this film did not garner more attention at least on cable if not in the theaters, but it is now out on DVD and can be found on Ebay or Amazon.com. I would not be so drastic as to rate it 2.5 out of ten, it's not that bad. I would give it a respectable 7 out of 10, it's worth the effort just for Forlani's performance alone. And without spoiling the ending to this film, let me just say if you are in someone's apartment, and you know that if you go downstairs two people are waiting to kill you, but you need to get out of this building, and you're a cop with a gun ( w/a clip that probably has more than 6 bullets), why not go downstairs and see if you can't shoot your way out of it? I mean the worst that is going to happen is you are going to get killed anyway, but you might take some of the bad guys with you. The best thing? You might surprise them, especially if they don't know you're armed in the first place, then you kill them, take one of the cars, and take the hell off! But as previously stated it's not the most will written story.
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