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D.O.A.

By N.F. Mendoza

Like Body Heat before it, D.O.A. demonstrates why the noir thriller deserved to be brought back--if done well. This movie, inspired by the 1949 Edmund O'Brien version, begins powerfully. A man stumbles into a police station to report a murder: his own. Writer Dexter Cornell (Dennis Quaid), an unhappy English professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has been poisoned. He has 24 hours to unveil his killer. It's a complex plot of forgotten dreams, dysfunctional relationships, and primarily bitterness. But it's so effectively directed (by Max Headroom's Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton) and so powerfully acted, it draws its audience into its puzzling and dark, hopeless world. Meg Ryan, who teamed the previous year with her now-husband Quaid in Innerspace, demonstrates her range well. The year before she played a put-upon career woman, but here she is completely credible as sweetly youthful student Sydney Fuller, who has a crush on her professor and becomes embroiled in his tragedy, while falling in love. Other excellent performances include Rob Knepper as aspiring writer-student Nicholas Lang; Charlotte Rampling as Lang's creepy, powerful mother; Jane Kaczmarek as Cornell's ex-wife, and Wonder Years voice Daniel Stern as an ambitious fellow teacher.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Rocky Morton

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Daniel Stern

Released: March 18, 1988

Availability: DVD VHS


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