Cold Creek Manor Mike Figgis

Cold Creek Manor Mike Figgis
Mike Figgis's limp psychological thriller feels like a twist-ending movie without the twist. A family of beautiful white folks leave New York City for the country life on a sprawling, rural estate they buy through a bank's repossession. The euphoria the family feels for their new digs quickly turns to dread when the previous owner, an ex-convict (Stephen Dorff), returns to reclaim his family's homestead. With Leaving Las Vegas, Figgis proved he could lead a gifted actor toward a heavyweight performance. But here he more or less squanders the considerable potential of his cast. Sharon Stone and Dennis Quaid do a fine job of portraying a married couple fighting to protect their family, but without any real conflict dividing the two characters the film misses a major opportunity to turn up the tension. Figgis hints at a conflict involving jealousy but never explores it. Another disappointment is Juliette Lewis (Kalifornia), who revisits familiar territory as Dorff's trashy girlfriend, with similarly uninspired results. As for the plot, things fall apart mid-way when Figgis ditches the realistic tone he's laboured to build and sets a nest of snakes loose on the house. The snake attack (apparently orchestrated by Dorff's character) is inconsistent with the otherwise naturalistic world the characters inhabit and nothing follows in the way of an explanation. After watching snakes chase Sharon Stone up a staircase, falling from the ceiling as if on cue, it's difficult to take the rest of the film seriously. Bonus features on the DVD include a director's commentary, deleted scenes and a couple of featurettes, including "Rules of the Genre," in which the filmmakers try to justify all their lazy choices by saying they were bound to the conventions of the genre. "It's not about camera work," Figgis says at one point. With an attitude like that it's no wonder his film falls short. (Buena Vista)