one shot of Liam Neeson ﬂying through the air after his lab has exploded that they just couldn‘t take. “That‘s the fakest-loooking thing there's ever been in a Universal picture!" they said. We have our
‘ good name to think of!‘ they said. “Please remove it now!" they said. But I kinda liked it. so Liam’s still in there.‘
One detects from his words that perhaps the studio execs weren‘t quite ready for the Raimi aesthetic. While it must have seemed a natural move for the creator of the Evil Dead's modestly budgeted slam-bang tackiness to have a little more in the way of technical resources to work with. it‘s obvious that with Darkman Sam Raimi has found the transition to the major league a little less than seamless. ‘ln the world of independent filmmaking.‘ reflects the 31 year-old writer/director. ‘you can‘t afford a camera crane with which to swoop down on the action so you‘re forced to improvise. to think of a more dramatic effect or a move that maybe the audience hasn’t seen before. Sometimes. for me. I think it‘s less creative to work with all that money.‘
Written largely by Sam and his practising physician brother Ivan Raimi (‘we call him the script doctor‘). Darkman is a f rolicsome contemporary variant on the
‘s Universal monster fare of yesteryear. It‘s The Phantom ofthe Opera meets Dr then daring scientist Peyton Westlake (Neeson. in his first leading American role). horribly mutilated by a gang of crooked henchmen cooking up a major real estate scam. is to exact a revenge positively fiendish in its cunning. Although left for dead. the mad doc is able to use his newly-developed synthetic skin to cover his appalling wounds and roam ! the city streets in search of his assailants. A design fault. however. means that he only has a hundred 3 minutes before his still-experimental covering begins to disintegrate. 'l‘he mysterious cloaked figure that is the Darkman has to work fast.
‘For me. it‘s the story of a man who starts out a hero and becomes a monster. a murderer,‘ says Sam. ‘lt‘s like Liam‘s trapped within this horrible make-up job but there‘s still also something human about him. he has real soul as an actor. In this movie it's really the first time I‘ve got to work with the cast to create real characters. That‘s pretty challenging. but a bit frightening too.‘
From the man who still calls all journalists ‘Sir' and who’s planning an Evil Dead 3: TheArmy of Darkness as something ofa tribute to effects maestro Ray Harryhausen. we should not however expect ‘real
characters‘ ol'a Strindbergian resonance and complexity. ln Darkman Raimi goes most awry with the relationship stuff between disfigured hero Neeson and lawyer love of his life Frances McDormand. while he‘s in his element with the cartoon panel verve of the action setpieces. Guffaw as Larry Drake‘s suave blimp ofa villain snips off another five fingers to add to his collection ofdisconnected digits; marvel at the deliriously dumb pastiche montage sequences conjuring up Neeson‘s demented memories: cringe at the horrendously amateurish matte work of the final helicopter chase. It‘s stoopid fun for kiddies ofall ages.
So much so. in fact. that we‘re prepared to forgive the technical lapses. With the sort ofdisarming candour that makes him the most likeable of wunderktnder. even Sam admits that he was trying to do too much for the money. ‘We were sitting in the editing room and the realisation came over us that some of it just wasn‘t working and we couldn‘t change it. It was like “whaddaya mean we don‘t have the money to do it again!‘.’ Oh my God!“ ‘
Dark man ( 15 ) opens across central Scotland through the ( 'annons' and U (313 Circuits from Fri I 6 Nov. See
; Film listings for further details.
discovers a secret resistance movement. With Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall. See review. Odeons Glasgow and Edinburgh lrom Fri 9 Nov.
' [m l l
I MAUHOUSE (15) Having just sunk their savings into buying a house, young couple John Larroquette and Kirstie Alley lind their new love-nest invaded bya succession of houseguests including a pregnant woman, a snake collector. a baby elephant and an incontinent cat. See review. Glasgow, Cannon the Forge from Fri 16 Nov.
l MY BLUE HEAVEN (PG) Funnymen Steve Martin and Rick Moranis join lorces with Joan Cusack in thistale of a silver-tongued supergrass causing havoc in the luckiess Caliiomia town chosen as his hiding place. See review. Cannons Glasgow and Edinburgh lrom Fri 9 Nov.
l NIKITA (18) Designer
stubble and French chic
abound in this stylish action
drama directed by Luc
Besson. oi Subway and Big
Anne Parillaud as a junkie turned government
I assassin. See preview.
} Glasgow. GFT. Edinburgh
1' Cameo lrom Fri 9 Nov.
The List ‘)-- 22 November I‘M) 17