- X 2019
Geoffrey Helman, John Quested, George A. Walker (executive) for Goldcrest
directed by Mike Hodges
starring Rosanna Arquette, Jason Robards, Tom Hulce, Mark Joy, Ron Rosenthal, John Bennes, Linda Pierce, Olek Krupa, Marty Terry, Ed Grady, Jon Thompson, Helen Baldwin, Darla N.Warner, Christopher L. Gray, Lucy Williams, Peter Townes, Dan Cox, William Brown, Rick Warner, Dandy stevenson, Rebecca Hogan, Georgia Allen, Brenda Mitchell, Princess Wilson, Mert Hatfield, Wallace Merck, Mary Ratliff, Ed Lillard, Judy Simpson, Willie Stratford, Kay Joiner, Jerry Rushing, Muse Watson, Herbert Eley, Janelle Cochrane, Joe Inscoe, Joyce Bowden-Kirby, George Hart, Ivan Green, James G.Martin jr, Tate Gardner, Christina Taylor, Jeffrey Taylor, Corbin Gurkin
written by Mike Hodges, music by John Scott
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Walt (Jason Robards) takes his daughter Martha (Rosanna Arquette) on
the road through the American South to do shows as a fake medium, seeing the whole thing more as a
showbiz venture than actual fraud. But one day during a show, Martha rather
unexpectedly really gets into contact with the other side, and
suddenly she can predict deaths. This gets reporter Gary (Tom Hulce)
interested, so he follows the father-and-daughter team through the country
(and at one time even gets the chance to bed Martha). However, at
one instant, Martha has also predicts a contract killing, which gets the
culprits, businessman Silas (John Bennes) and his hitman Lloyd (Mark Joy), on their
tows, since she might be able to identify the killer - and thus Lloyd has
to eliminate her.
During one of her shows, Martha sees her own father's
death, and sends her astral projection to warn him - however, instead of
saving him, Martha's astral projection lures Lloyd - who thinks she's real
- to her father, whom he then shoots rather by accident.
baddies all get their just desserts in the end, but Martha simply vanishes
into thin air - and since then, Gary tries to track her down ... but never
manages to catch more than her spirit.
There are many things to
like about this film, it's competently directed, beautifully shot,
well-acted (only the usually dependable Tom Hulce seems to struggle with
his role), the script shows at least hints of intelligence, and an
intentional lack of special effects puts the film into the right
However, the film is unfortunately far less than perfect,
it simply tries to sit between too many stools: It's part family drama,
part down-to-earth crimethriller, part supernatural horror, part satire -
and all these elements don't really come together as they lack room to
bloom and flourish. So the film is not touching enough for a family drama,
lacks suspense to work as a crimethriller, lacks scares to work as a
horror film, and lacks real bite to work as a satire. Black Rainbow
would have been great had director/screenwriter Hodges decided which way
to go with it, but as it is, it's just mediocre.