The Rich Man's Wife

"Good"

The Rich Man's Wife Review


There are a couple of rules inherent to the thriller that any filmmaker should be aware of. First, you have to keep the pace moving so fast that the audience doesn't have time to think about whodunit. And second, if you kill off most of the cast, whoever's left alive at the end of the movie is the one who did the killing.

The Rich Man's Wife blindly ignores both of these rules, but still manages to float, thanks to a united effort by an exceptional cast and exquisite production values. Amy Holden Jones directs her own screenplay here, a modern-day reworking of Hitchcock's masterful Strangers on a Train.

Hitch's story revolved around a man who took a joke too far -- an offer to kill the other's wife. This time, it's wife Josie (Halle Berry) kills ultra-rich husband Tony (Christopher McDonald) with the aid of friendly sociopath Cole (Peter Greene). Jones also throws in some interesting twists about Josie's forlorn lover Jake (Clive Owen) and his ex-wife Nora (Clea Lewis from TV's Ellen) -- the latter who all but steals the show.

But the main problem is that despite a tight 100 minute running time, Jones's pacing is slower than a Yugo headed uphill, primarily because there's not a lot of story filler off the main path of the film (this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just doesn't work right here). The other problem is that none of the characters in the film are very good at being criminals; leaving mile-wide trails for the cops. (Then again, this may or may not have been intentional. Whatever the case, they're really slow about it.) This lethargy left me restless during much of the movie, but it works to great effect when Jones finally revs into action phase...

Any time a gun comes out on screen, watch it, because sparks are about to fly. The confrontation between Tony and Cole is a powerhouse of a cat & mouse sequence which almost makes the film worth seeing on its own. Jones also uses the mixed-race marriage of Josie and Tony to explore (on a very limited scale) some of the racial dynamics of their situation and of society in general.

The bottom line is that everyone in the film could have stood a shot of adrenaline, but by the time it's over, the thriller will have captured the minds of most of its audience. After all, patience is a virtue, right?

P.S. My biggest complaint -- while you find out who did it, you never really find out how. If any of my readers figure it out, please drop me a line and let me hear your theory.

Berry to Greene: Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.



The Rich Man's Wife

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th September 1996

Box Office Worldwide: $8.5M

Distributed by: Disney

Production compaines: Caravan Pictures, Hollywood Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 14%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 5.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Jake Golden, as Josie Potenza, as Cole Wilson, as Detective Ron Lewis, as Detective Dan Fredricks, as Bill Adolphe, as Nora Golden, as Tony Potenza

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.