Ray Liotta, a seemingly charming plod, is called to the agreeable home of Michael and Karen Carr (Russell and Stowe) after a burglary. Taking a rather obsessive fancy to Karen, Liotta slowly inveigles his way into the couple's lives, lending an insidiously helping hand while quietly wrecking Michael's marriage and career, and ceaselessly trying to get into Karen's underpants.
With quite remarkable presience Jonathan Kaplan, director of The Accused, once again caught the spirit of the times with this tale of an L.A. cop gone haywire. The parallels with the Rodney King case are so stark that at one point the Chief Of Police actually remarks, "these days, everybody's got a goddamn video camera."
With a fairly standard thriller plot, the extra spice here comes not only from the quite excellent performances, but from the fact that the loony is the very guy who should be on your side: a policeman. "Who're you gonna call?" Liotta taunts Russell at one point, "the cops?"
Ray Liotta gives a typically gripping performance as the fruitcake, but the real discovery here is Kurt Russell, playing possibly the most easily-empathised-with regular guy of recent years, his impotence in the face of an unfightable foe showing in every flicker of his defeated eyes. Admittedly, it all gets a bit by-the-book as the inevitable dust-up approaches, but with these kinds of standard-plot thrillers, it's not so much what you do as how you do it. And Kaplan does it really rather well.
A wonderfully nasty turn from Liotta, along with a novel treatment of familiar plotlines, elevates Kaplan's effort into the 'must see' category.