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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Eyewitness (1981)

When a Vietnamese businessman (Chao Li Chi) is murdered in a Manhattan office building, the night janitor (William Hurt) pretends to know more about the crime than he does in order to impress a TV reporter (Sigourney Weaver) that he has a crush on. Unfortunately, that lie places both their lives in danger. Directed by Peter Yates (BULLITT) from an original screenplay by Steven Tesich (BREAKING AWAY), this thriller suffers from an overly contrived plot (if only Tesich had realized that less is more) that is far fetched and finally falls apart in a preposterous finale. Hurt and Weaver were both just coming off their breakthrough films, ALTERED STATES and ALIEN, so this film was eagerly anticipated. Fortunately, their careers managed to overcome the disappointment. In fact, Hurt and Weaver are the reason for watching this film. For such newcomers (at the time), they not manage to not only not embarrass themselves in such weak material but display a likable screen presence and a subdued chemistry. But the film is padded out with a subplot involving James Woods as a possible murder suspect and his sister (Pamela Reed) who is engaged to Hurt's character that seems unnecessary. With Christopher Plummer, Morgan Freeman, Irene Worth, Steven Hill, Kenneth McMillan and Alice Drummond.

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