Genuine Risk

(Kurt Voss, UK, 1990)


Genuine Risk is a tough, coarse, crime thriller that mixes several national traditions of this genre.

Peter Berg provides the American flavour as a small time gambler who drifts into an extortion racket at the prompting of a flakey friend. Berg’s boss is Terence Stamp, who plays up his Britishness as if he were a refugee from an ultra-violent episode of Minder. This Mr Big is disconcertingly measured and calm, even when he’s blowing someone away or mouthing scatological obscenities.

Berg is reminiscent of a film noir hero in the Robert Mitchum mould – too passive and nonchalant for his own good. When he falls for a blonde who turns out to be his boss’ mistress, we are in fact rather close to the Mitchum classic Out of the Past (1947).

But the comparison ends there, for Kurt Voss’s direction of Genuine Risk has none of the atmosphere, nuance or dramatic suggestion that Jacques Tourneur brought to his noir masterpiece.

© Adrian Martin April 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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