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In Brief: "Wait Until Dark"

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Frederick Knott's Wait Until Dark is pure contrivance but with more holes than a tennis net. From Knott's plot's un-Gordian knots, a little logic could easily free the blind heroine beset by three bumbling thugs. They, in turn, could, instead of playing an elaborate charade, win out through simple physical force. The thriller, a lowly theatrical genre, depends on some semblance of rationality and a fair dose of suspense, neither of them provided here.

On the credit side, the always winningly earthy Marisa Tomei, even miscast as a vulnerable flower, emerges warmly appealing; Stephen Lang's raspily manic persona -- a human cheese-grater -- fascinates as usual, even in a senseless role. Michael McGarty's décor is moody and sassy; Brian MacDevitt's lighting scatters miracles with dazzling prodigality. Under Leonard Foglia's overgimmicky direction, the minor roles are just passably filled.

The real disaster is Quentin Tarantino. This ludicrously overrated copycat director gives a nonperformance to temper the ardor of his most slavish fans. The video store, where Tarantino has acquired his entire education, can teach you to become a flash-in-the-pan director but not, alas, an actor. His chief heavy, Roat, floats like a pothead and stings like a flea.


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