Dr Isaac Barr is a psychiatrist stumped by a deeply traumatised patient. When he gets involved with her sister, who's married to a dangerous criminal, he finds himself drawn into a murder investigation, in which one or both sisters may be involved
After trying his hand at the rockumentary with U2: Rattle And Hum, and the mob movie with State Of Grace, director Phil Joanou here turns his hand to another popular movie genre, the Hitchcockian thriller, unfortunately with mixed results.
Richard Gere is San Francisco psychiatrist Dr. Isaac Barr, a single kind of guy with a house to die for and a nice line in designer suits. His most interesting patient is a quiet, intense girl called Diana (Thurman), who seems more interested in talking about her vivacious sister Heather (Basinger) than her own multiple problems. It's not long before helpful sister Heather appears on Dr. Barr's doorstep to help him get to the root of her sibling's strange dreams, and it takes even less time for Barr to throw his professional ethics out of the window and indulge in a bit of bedsheet rumpling with the cool blonde.
However, with this being a thriller, things are not what they seem. Heather is married to up-and-coming thug Jimmy Evans (Roberts), the kind of guy that other criminals would cross the street to avoid. When he ends up dead after coming into contact with a heavy barbell, Heather is immediately the suspect, but pleads self-defence while a persistent cop thinks Dr. Barr may be involved as well.
So who killed Jimmy? Is Heather a cold, calculating woman or a misunderstood battered wife? What do Diana's dreams really mean? Does it really matter? For all Joanou's attempts at keeping the tension mounting, the movie falls apart in the middle as the plot twists and turns confusingly, while too much is revealed and too many clues are brandished in front of the screen, taking away any surprise from the final denoument.
Even the three leading performers can't help - although Basinger and Thurman are well cast, Gere just makes time as the leading man, as if he's waiting for Pretty Woman II. The only consolation is Joanou's picture-postcard look at San Francisco, but if you're looking for a first-class thriller, look elsewhere.
That most essential element in a thriller, the suspense, collapses mid-film, making it hard to care about the eventual denouement.