Three New Orleans punks (Matt Dillon, Gary Sinise, and William Fichtner), on the run from a screwed-up robbery attempt, bust into an atmospheric basement bar late at night, scramble the lives of the five folks inside, and wreak twisted psychological and physical damage on one another as the cops and media close in, in a contrived and violent indie drama from twist-loving Kevin Spacey, making his directorial debut. It’s easy to see why Albino Alligator appealed to the star of Seven and The Usual Suspects — all those loose-cannon characters, liable to blow at any moment — but Spacey the director relies far too heavily (as neo-noirists do) on moody compositions and close-ups to fill the space where motivation and character building ought to be. The script, by first-timer Christian Forte, is not much help, alternately stilted, grandiose, and didactic (an ”al’bo ‘gator,” we’re informed in a long speech by the group’s loosest cannon, is a ”weak and useless” member of the pack sacrificed by others for the group’s gain). Ultimately, the talented cast — among them M. Emmet Walsh, Faye Dunaway, Skeet Ulrich, and Viggo Mortensen — play to their easiest star turns rather than their most interesting strengths.
Genre: Mystery and Thriller, Drama; Starring: Matt Dillon, Faye Dunaway, Gary Sinise, William Fichtner, Joe Mantegna, Viggo Mortensen, John Spencer, Skeet Ulrich, M. Emmet Walsh; Director: Kevin Spacey; Author: Christian Forte; MPAA Rating: R
Posted January 31 1997 — 12:00 AM EST
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