Mark Harris
August 16, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Black Rainbow

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
performer
Rosanna Arquette, Jason Robards, Olek Krupa
genre
Drama, Thriller

We gave it a D+

Before turning up as a ”Showtime original,” this halfhearted attempt at a suspense thriller sat on the shelf for two years awaiting theatrical release, and it’s easy to see why: Since Black Rainbow reveals its shocking final plot twist in its first five minutes, the element of surprise in what follows is somewhat scarce. Rosanna Arquette plays Martha Travis, a revival-show medium who specializes in hearing voices from the beyond. Under the thumb of her alcoholic father, Walter (Jason Robards at his raspiest), she goes from town to town serving as ”God’s…telephone exchange” between the departed and the deluded. The movie fudges the issue of whether Martha is sincere or scamming, but when she starts ”seeing” the deaths of workers at a power plant before they happen, we’re supposed to take her very seriously. Arquette gives a solid performance, as does Robards, even when he has to chug from a flask and intone ”This is the real spirit world.” Too bad Walter has to die at the end — but then, you already knew that; Black Rainbow is about as exciting as a mystery novel whose last page comes first. D+

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