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“Training Day meets Basic Instinct”

Gina Gershon showed previous action heroine potential in Face Off; here, she moves a little further up that line with an effective whodunnit in which she plays a thoroughly unconventional homicide cop with a shady past. Cochrane is her rookie partner, who begins to suspect she may be the serial killer who is taking out the local garbage. There’s almost inevitably a sense of disappointment in twisty thriller like this one; when the film-makers reveal the real culprit, the viewer tends to feel let down. Black suffers less from this than most, though still requires some suspension of disbelief. The script, by the director and (one assumes, his brother) Leon Zeltser, crackles along nicely, with convincing dialogue and good pacing, revealing information at just the right rate to keep the audience guessing.

Must confess, seeing Gershon play a heterosexual takes some getting used to – c.f Bound and Showgirls – but she does an excellent job here, even if her best line remains the sexually ambivalent “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t want to fuck me?” The rest of the cast back her up well, in particular, Ron Silver, as Mr. Internal Affairs (and ex-lover), delivers his usual slimy turn, while Cochrane hits the right notes of bewilderment. Gershon’s character comes over more as a coiled spring than a loose cannon. Even sitting at a bus-stop, she looks primed to explode, but never really does. This lack of action is about the only thing stopping this from getting the seal of approval – otherwise, for the most part, this is a solid and effective thriller.

Dir: Yuri Zeltser
Star: Gina Gershon, Rory Cochrane, Ron Silver, Alison Eastwood

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