Jennifer Eight

(Bruce Robinson, USA, 1992)


Jennifer Eight, an atmospheric, brilliantly plotted mystery-thriller, is the first American film by British writer-director Bruce Robinson (Withnail & I, 1987).

More in the devious tradition of Fritz Lang's police movies than the more familiar Alfred Hitchcock mode, Jennifer Eight plays, right up to the ending, with subtle but nagging enigmas surrounding the characters' actions and motivations.

Andy Garcia is in great form as a sad, haunted city cop who moves to the country and gets fixated on a long-unresolved serial killer case. All the victims are young, blind women, and Garcia soon becomes romantically involved with Uma Thurman, a witness who may be the next target.

Also involved in the tangle is Garcia's best friend on the force (Lance Henriksen) whose fate, half way through the plot, sets off a vertiginous chain of possible psychotic scenarios. As a special investigator into the prevailing confusion, John Malkovich gives a chillingly mannered performance.

© Adrian Martin June 1992

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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