Bedroom Window, The (1987): Noir Thriller Directed by Curtis Hanson

Before he became an A-list director (“L.A. Confidential”), Curtis Hanson had made several workable features, including the suspense thriller, The Bedroom Window, adapted from Anne Holden’s British novel “The Witnesses.”

Too bad that the film’s two leads are miscast. The terrific French actress Isabelle Huppert, who speaks English with a very heavy accent, plays a married woman witnessing an assault from her lover’s window.  She can’t give her testimony to the police, because it will endanger her marriage.

As a result, her lover (Steve Guttenberg, also miscast) memorizes all the details that she has related to him, pretending to be the observer of the crime.   Needless to say, his apparently innocent lie gets them into many troubles, both anticipated and unanticipated.

The film’s decent performances are rendered by Elizabeth McGovern, as the assault victim, a cocktail waitress, and by Wallace Shawn as the assailant’s witty attorney.

As the almost mute psycho, Brad Greenquist gives a creepy and chilling performance that lingers in memory even after the thriller is over.

Gil Taylor’s sharp cinematography, relying on some location shooting in Baltimore, serves well the borderline sleazy material up to a point. Hanson is a shrewd filmmaker, who knows how to manipulate viewers’ response, but the text’s second half is considerably weak.

Credits

Running time: 112 minutes

MPAA: R