Unforgettable | Chicago Reader

Unforgettable

Rated R 117 minutes 1996

After making a name for himself as a director of postnoirs (Red Rock West, The Last Seduction), John Dahl switches genres to SF thriller, and thanks in part to a sprawling and undisciplined, if not preposterous, script (by Bill Geddie, the executive producer of several Barbara Walters specials), complete with a mad forensic pathologist (Ray Liotta), he hits the skids. Helped by a resourceful neurobiologist (Linda Fiorentino), Liotta discovers that memories are stored in cerebral spinal fluid. He then injects himself with his dead wife's in order to solve the mystery of who killed her. Maybe this 1996 feature would have worked as a modest trashy thriller compressed to 75 minutes, but Dahl lets it run for almost two hours, punctuated with more flashy flashbacks and sweaty close-ups of Liotta (the poor man's Jeffrey Hunter) than any one person can take, and it becomes increasingly hard to sustain an interest in the plot, much less in whodunit. One nice dividend, though, is Fiorentino, who seems to have consciously striven to play the reverse of her character in The Last Seduction—she's klutzy, nurturing, and ethical—and does a charming turn with it. With Peter Coyote, Christopher McDonald, Kim Cattrall, Kim Coates, and David Paymer.

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