Someone to Watch Over Me | Chicago Reader

Someone to Watch Over Me

Ridley Scott's 1987 feature takes a conventional romantic police thriller script, written by Howard Franklin, and dresses it up like a Christmas tree. A happily married rookie police detective from Queens (Tom Berenger) is assigned to protect a wealthy and attractive Manhattan woman (Mimi Rogers) who is the material witness to a homicide by (you guessed it) a psycho who'll stop at nothing (Andreas Katsulas). Despite class barriers and the detective's devotion to his plucky wife (Lorraine Bracco), he and the witness fall in love and have an affair. While the actors show some sensitivity and Scott works up a modicum of suspense and involvement, the real interest of this picture is the radiance of the images—a mastery of lighting and decor second only to Scott's Blade Runner, with atmospheric textures so dense you can almost taste them. Unfortunately, this mastery bears only the most glancing relationship to the story at hand, and Scott becomes guilty of the sort of formalism that used to be charged (less justly) against Josef von Sternberg. But even though the movie doesn't leave much of a residue, it looks terrific while you're watching it: Manhattan has seldom appeared as glitzy or as glamorous. With Jerry Orbach, John Rubenstein, and a nice rendition of the Gershwin title tune by Sting.

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