Cop | Chicago Reader

Cop

The underrated and very interesting James B. Harris—former producer of Kubrick (The Killing, Paths of Glory, Lolita), and writer-director of The Bedford Incident, Some Call It Loving, and Fast Walking—has adapted James Ellroy's novel Blood on the Moon, about an obsessed LA detective tracking down a serial killer. James Woods, who previously teamed up with Harris on Fast Walking, doubles here as star and coproducer (with Harris); Lesley Ann Warren, Charles Durning, and Charles Haid also figure in the cast. For a long time now, Harris seems to have had a bee in his bonnet about the corruption of sexual innocence—a theme that yielded his one (very unconventional) masterpiece, Some Call It Loving. A related obsession is operative here, with misogynistic overtones, but this time there's not enough distance on it to make for much lucidity: the film is both provocative and murky, and good performances from Woods, Warren, and Durning don't suffice to clear up or objectify the unpleasantness in any edifying way. A rather oddball film that uses Woods as its mouthpiece to denounce the self-imposed innocence of women, it doesn't look long or hard enough on its hero's motivations to place them in any broader context.

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