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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Cool Surface (1994)



Reviews and Comments

The Cool Surface is a fairly uninspired thriller about a writer who gets caught up with an actress living next door. There's a line of dialogue near the end that sums up most of my frustrations with the film: "Can you tell me what goes through these people's minds?"

I wish the movie did. Its characters mill about in a terribly forced movie world, in which escalating moments of tension occur at well-timed intervals and cause the characters to react with just the right amount of anger and frustration, regardless of whether this coincidences with the way reality works. The flow of emotions required by the plot is not made the least bit believable.

To the movie's credit, the "surprise" ending (I say "surprise" in quotes, because it frankly isn't that much of a surprise) explains some things, but the movie lost me long before that. It had lost my trust. The characters were clearly pawns of the plot, and they aren't the least bit interesting to watch. That's a fatal flaw, and there's no cure for it.

One of its problems is with its point of view. By rights, the point of view should have been shifted to the other major character. That would have made the "surprise" ending even less surprising. But as this movie is completely built around it, casually disregarding the more fundamental elements of storytelling by doing so, the gains would have outweighed the losses.