Color of Night (1994)

Color of Night

Genre: Erotic thriller

Cast: Bruce Willis, Jane March

Synopsis: After one of his patients commits suicide in front of him, a psychiatrist moves to LA where he is immediately embroiled in a sexy murder mystery with all the tension you’d find in an average game of Cluedo.

Mental illness is probably one of the most difficult things to convey in a movie. I’m saying this because film producers and directors rarely seem it get it right. There is a tendency among film makers to turn people with mental illnesses into caricatures. For example, the person suffering with schizophrenia is shown to alternate between two contrasting personalities. Mental illness is never that simple. To portray mental illness successfully, you have to have an insight on the illness itself either through personal experience or by reading a shit ton of material on it. When approaching movies with a mental illness theme, I always hope that the writers did sufficient research.

To be honest, I didn’t really expect that Color of Night would be a responsible portrayal. Mental illness is rarely shown in ordinary films in an accurate manner so when you throw eroticism into the mix, you are probably going to get a dud. What little hope I had was dashed in the opening sequence when the saxophone solo started playing. Tense murder thriller and Careless Whisper-esque music do not complement one another. Soon after the unfortunate title sequence, we see a rich woman alone in her apartment smearing lipstick on her face while laughing and crying. She then pulls out a gun and sticks it in her mouth. She contemplates suicide but then starts to fellate the gun. Less than five minutes in, I was already cradling my face in my hands.

Ordinarily, that scene would have tipped me over the edge, forcing me to switch off. However, I had a distinct feeling that a certain amount of comedy value could be taken from this movie so I pressed on. Although I’m loathe to admit it, I am glad that I did. The next thing I say will be a huge spoiler so if you don’t want to know the major plot twist in this movie then turn away now. You should watch this movie solely on the fact that it features Bruce Willis banging an F to M to F transvestite. Everything else in the movie is irrelevant after you consider that point.

While Bruce Willis’ predilection for transvestites is certainly the coup de grâce, there are many other WTF moments which will keep you entertained in this movie. For starters, there is a lot of homoerotic tension between Willis and the other male characters. Seriously, all they talk about is dicks. Then there’s the actual lesbian scene which is really creepy and not erotic in the slightest. Also, you have one of the worst “death by jumping off a building” scenes ever. As it is happening you think that they’ll do a tasteful shot where the camera pulls away at the last second. No, that doesn’t happen. Instead you see a mannequin smacking it’s head on the floor. It’s laughable, really.

As far as erotic factor goes, this film probably won’t get you hot under the collar. The sex scenes are laboured and poorly edited. I don’t need two five minute sex scenes sandwiching a 30-second topless dinner scene. I did appreciate that there was a sneaky peen shot though. It’s good to throw the audience a bone once in a while.

Color of Night is the sort of film that shouldn’t exist. No-one would make a film so bat-shit insane, surely? Well, not everybody has great judgment. I include myself among those people because I spent more than two hours watching this turd. Please lower yourselves to my level by watching this film. I need people to join me in the gutter so I can feel better about my choices.

High-lights:

  • Some great quotes. “To deny red is to deny emotion.” Thanks Sigmund Freud.
  • “Don’t fuck with a trapped rat.” Again, thank you Sigmund.
  • The opening sequence is one of the funniest I have seen and wildly inappropriate.
  • Bruce Willis banging an F to M to F transvestite.
  • A rattlesnake in a letter box is a great idea for a prank.

Downers:

  • Los Angeles is nothing like this, I swear.
  • “You don’t want to start another riot.” Jeez! Way to make light of a race-riot.
  • Worst lead female ever. “Hi I’m Rose and I don’t have insurance.” She also has an annoying face.
  • Worst disguise ever.

Summary:

Color of Night is neither erotic nor thrilling but it sure is funny. Deploying a level of absurdity usually reserved for Japanese game shows, this film takes the audience on a non-stop rollercoaster of melodrama, exposes genitals, and poorly written twists. What more could you possibly want on a Saturday night?

9/10

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3 Comments

Filed under Crap, Great, Thriller

3 responses to “Color of Night (1994)

  1. Jane March is fucking delicious. Watched this movie back in the day solely because she’s in it. It really is that bad. But she’s still in it. (The Lover was the first non-porn movie I ever saw where it was completely obvious the sex scenes were not faked. That made…quite an impression on me.)

    As far as mental illness on movies goes, I would say you’re spot on. Take a look at Lance Weiler’s movie Head Trauma; that one gets it right, I think.

  2. Pingback: Blade (1998) | bakedmoviereviews

  3. Pingback: Wild Things (1998) | bakedmoviereviews

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