(George Erschbamer, USA, 1994)


I have a special affection for thrillers based on sense deprivation: lack of hearing in Hear No Evil (1993) or loss of sight in Blink (1994), to mention a few ’90s examples.

Flinch comes up with a novel variation on this sub-genre. The plot begins when two “live mannequins” (Judd Nelson and Gina Gershon) posing with complete rigidity in a shop window inadvertently witness a murder. As long as they betray no sign of human movement, they remain invisible to the sinister killer.

The film does not explore this bizarre premise for very long. Soon it becomes a light-hearted detective story, with Nelson and Gershon falling reluctantly in love as they track the murderer.

Our heroes mock each other’s lifestyles and share memories of their past failed relationships as they dine secretly at midnight in a deserted emporium – reviving fond memories of the television romantic comedy Moonlighting.

On top of these pleasantries, Flinch overlays a brand of over-the-top camp melodrama that owes a great deal to the underground legend George Kuchar (Hold Me While I’m Naked, 1967). This influence is particularly evident whenever swelling organ music accompanies the batty sculptor Miles (Nick Mancuso, dressed like Barry Humphries) as he storms about yelling such obscenities as: “Symbolic art! Objet trouvé!”

The script is by the team of Tippi and Neal Dobrofsky, whose career has connected, at different moments, with Jerry Lewis, Clint Eastwood, and the bizarre organ-theft thriller The Donor (1997) – not to be confused with another of their scripts, for The Donor (2000).

© Adrian Martin November 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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