Albino Alligator Movie Review

One of a growing list of recent directorial debuts by actors, Albino Alligator is Kevin Spacey's (Best Supporting Actor winner from The Usual Suspects) baby, and his film is probably the best of the lot. Because with this movie, Spacey proves that he can work just as well on either side of the camera.

A "box drama" of classic design, Albino Alligator is a psychological thriller set largely inside a New Orleans Prohibition-era bar still open in the 1990s. Dova (Matt Dillon), Milo (Gary Sinise), and Law (William Fichtner) are criminals on the run. After killing three cops with their car, the trio holes up in Dino's Last Chance Bar until things cool over, but the cops catch up with them soon enough. A game of cat-and-mouse hostage negotiation ensues, with Faye Dunaway, Viggo Mortensen, Skeet Ulrich, John Spencer, & M. Emmet Walsh as the victims, and Joe Mantegna as the head cop on the case.

Christian Forte's script is top-notch, save for a few dialogue relics leftover from the Prohibition era themselves (I've never actually heard anyone refer to two dollars as "a deuce"). In fact, the script does most of the real work in the picture, leaving Spacey plenty of time to concentrate on building tension and experimenting with some cool camera tricks, all without getting too heavy-handed with his direction. And having all his talented friends act in the principal parts doesn't hurt, either.

Spacey does a nice job at getting across some relevant social commentary along the way, even if the film stays a little inaccessible due to the lack of any real heroes or very likable characters. A better editing job (especially continuity) could have made a big difference here as well.

But all is forgiven -- Kevin Spacey adds another title to his long list of credits, and it might prove to be one of his best.

Not only has the set been around since Prohibition, but so has the leading lady.


Comments

Albino Alligator Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 1997

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