The Rook

This 1993 exercise in archness refuses to decide whether it wants to be parody or dark irony and so becomes neither. Leaving his family in a town threatened by war, detective John Abbott (Martin Donovan) is sent to investigate the murder of a woman in a place called Sutheridge, where a cloyingly eclectic confusion of antiquated and futuristic devices is supposed to define a mythical time and Kafkaesque environment that writer Richard Lee Purvis and director Eran Palatnik seem to think isn't thoroughly derivative. A local official (John McKay) puts Donovan up in the murder victim's room, and among her possessions he discovers a photograph of himself. This kind of circularity is the only point of an enervating plot whose resolution is obnoxiously far from surprising.

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