Movie Review By Heather Clisby
From Academy Award-winning writer and director, Robert Benton, comes "Twilight," a compelling film with an all-star cast: Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon, James Garner, Stockard Channing and Reese Witherspoon.
Narrated by ex-cop and retired private eye, Harry Ross (played by Newman), "Twilight" is a tale of murder and mystery in Los Angeles and the fickle strengths of friendship and love. Sound familiar? At first glance, it is but once the characters sink in, you realize it's about getting old and pilfering the past for any comfort or insight, hence the title.
The film begins in Mexico with Harry retrieving a rebellious teenage girl named Mel (played by Witherspoon, who really holds her own here.) After Mel accidentally shoots Harry dangerously close to the family jewels, everyone's mistaken assumption that the bullet hit the target, is the film's running joke.
A few years later, Harry is living under the roof of Jack and Catherine Ames (played by Hackman and Sarandon), the glamorous parents of Mel and also Harry's best friends. Apparently, he never got paid for Mel's safe return so he just moved in to recover and never left. Mel loudly complains of his presence but once we catch the naughty spark between Catherine and Harry, all is explained.
Jack and Catherine, both screen legends, exhibit a love that destroys everything in its' path. Evidence of such destruction begins to surface when Jack asks Harry to "runs some errands." Harry asks Jack if he should bring a gun, Jack says no, so Harry brings two. There is great love between the men but not a smidgen of trust. The friendship is strained further by Jack's impending cancer death and Harry's brief liaison with Catherine.
Soon, Harry is hot on the trail of an old crime, which leads him to a run-in with an old flame, Verna (played by Channing), now a police lieutenant with the power and the weakness to help him. War-horse James Garner plays Raymond, another old friend who mysteriously "cleans up messes" for people with money.
In one memorable scene, Harry and Raymond reminisce over their wilder days in L.A. and then, in the next breath, Raymond asks, "Is your prostate bothering you?" Hilarious but poignant because after all these years, the two old friends are heading in opposite directions and only one will survive.
"Twilight" is one of those films where everybody involved seems to have actually cared, thus we have a superb product with memorable characters brought to life by some of the finest actors of our time.
© 1998 - Heather Clisby - Air Date: 3/4/98
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