Twilight (1998) – Review

2 Stars

Paul Newman at 73 years of age strides through the role of private investigator Harry Ross with the ease of man whose stardom dates back nearly four decades. Surrounded by an array of fine supporting players, this melancholy tale of murder, cover-ups, Hollywood sex scandals and adultery would be right at home if it were written and filmed in the 1940’s. The cast can only elevate the material to a certain level before the over-wrought plotting and logical mis-steps dump the movie on its ass, wasting the hard-work from everyone on-screen.

Harry Ross (Paul Newman) is a burnt-out P.I., living with a former Hollywood ‘it’ couple. Jake Ames (Gene Hackman) and his wife Catherine (Susan Sarandon) are former acting royalty with a deadly secret to their very public love affair. Ross is the hired hand in matters dangerous and trivial, until a simple delivery plunges Harry into a long-unsolved case involving the alleged suicide of Catherine’s former lover.

There are some clever scenes in the screenplay concocted by director Benton and co-writer Richard Russo, adapted from the latter’s novel of the same name, but too often the ludicrous plot turns, mixed with under-developed story threads make for an uneven and unsatisfying movie. By the time we have reached the film’s final scene there is no spark, because the movie provides no momentum or building tension. Lush Southern California locations, a richly texted score from Elmer Bernstein, and the combined efforts of a handful of screen legends still can’t make Twilight bearable.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Gene Hackman

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