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The Films of Harold Becker

The Ragman's Daughter

The Onion Field

The Black Marble

Taps

Vision Quest

The Boost

Sea of Love

Malice (August 13/16)

Directed by Harold Becker , Malice follows New England couple Tracy (Nicole Kidman) and Andy (Bill Pullman) as their lives are thrown into upheaval after a surgery goes wrong at the hands of an arrogant surgeon (Alec Baldwin's Jed). There's a lot more to the narrative than just that, however, as scripters Aaron Sorkin and Scott Frank have infused the proceedings with a seemingly irrelevant serial-rapist subplot and a second half that's bursting with twists and turns - with this ongoing emphasis on misdirection enhancing the film's thoroughly entertaining (and flat-out engrossing) atmosphere. It's clear, too, that Malice benefits substantially from the efforts of an impressively stacked cast, with Pullman and Kidman's solid work often overshadowed by Baldwin's scene-stealing turn as an almost comically egomaniacal doctor. (The actor's captivating, iconic "god complex" speech remains an obvious highlight in the proceedings.) Filmmaker Becker does a superb job of juggling the various elements within Sorkin and Frank's screenplay, with the movie's escalating tension paving the way for a second half that's both compelling and suspenseful. And while the third act, which is riddled with progressively over-the-top happenings, isn't quite as taut as all that preceded it, Malice is nevertheless a superior thriller that does, more than 20 years later, remain one of the best examples of the genre.

out of

City Hall

Mercury Rising

Domestic Disturbance

© David Nusair