Friday, January 17, 2014

Watch Instantly Watch: Wait Until You're Blindsided aka Penthouse North

Something's hidden in the apartment of a young blind woman, and dark criminal types turn up to look for it and glean any knowledge from her they can.

That's the plot of Wait Until Dark (1967)of course, based on the stage play of the same name by Frederick Knott who also penned the play that became Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder.

The premise gets an updating in both pace and timeframe in Blindsided aka Penthouse North, now streaming on Netflix with some airings on Lifetime as well. It's penned by David Loughery and directed by Joseph Ruben (Sleeping With the Enemy.)

In Wait Until Dark, the heroine is Audrey Hepburn, the MacGuffin a doll filled with heroin. Thugs led by Alan Arkin attempt a con game to finesse details such as the combination of a safe where the doll might be stored. Things progress to brutality. 

The brutality comes sooner in Blindsided. Michelle Monaghan is a photojournalist who's lost her sight to a suicide bomber while in Afghanistan. Three years after the incident, she's living happily with a significant other in an expensive Manhattan penthouse. 

It's more like the film I thought Wait Until Dark was going to be when I was a kid, before I saw it the first time. 

The original film is a slow burn. Arkin, Richard Crenna and Jack Weston trick Hepburn's husband into leaving then try to convince her he's involved in an affair and murder with the doll he brought home from a trip. It's the item that can time him to the whole matter, so she's urged to produce it, even though she doesn't know where it is.

Things turn brutal much quicker in Blindsided. Monaghan's Sara comes home from picking up the final touches for New Year's Eve to find her boyfriend dead. The thug that knifed him's still on the premises, and he's joined after a few twists by his boss, Michael Keaton, who's back in Pacific Heights territory. He seems like the more gentle of the two, but of course…

There's no con game, just an escalating effort to terrorize Sara until she reveals what she knows about money on the premises and more. Even a little water boardings worth a try.

It's a Wait Until Dark for our era, I suppose, with a punches contemporary audiences will appreciate, clocking in just under 90 minutes. 

There are still twists and turns, and a little does-she-know? or doesn't-she? mind play, with one moment of: "If she knew, why would she let that happen?" 

It's also interesting, if you're familiar with original, to see how Keaton and Company deal differently with issues Arkin's band tackled years ago. They're a little more heavy handed today.

Keaton's good , always love Keaton, but I think Arkin's twisted psychopath is still a little more chilling. 

Check both for yourself and see what you think. It might make for an interesting double bill on an evening at home.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Michael Keaton can be creepy as hell. this looks pretty good

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