Philip Noyce
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Philip Noyce

Dead Calm (1989), adapted from Charles Williams' 1963 novel, adds an erotic overtone to the old-fashioned thriller. A lot of stereotypes (the inept woman, the dead who doesn't die, the tough man who finally restores peace to his family, etc) are tolerable because they set in an unusual context: a claustrophobic environment such as a boat, surrounded by an infinite mass of water. The characters are alone in a world that has to mercy of the weak.

After the death of their child, a wealthy couple (handsome husband John and a pretty wife Rae) decides to go on a yachting trip. As they are trying to relax and enjoy the sun and the sea, they spot the wreckage of a boat a castaway rowing towards their yacht. The man, Hughie, exhausted and terrified, tells them that a horrible disease has killed everyone on his boat and he is the only survivor. While he is resting, John rows to the wrecked boat. Hughie reveals his true character by stealing the boat and the woman. John is left to die in a sinking boat, and he soon finds out what really happened on it: Hughie killed all the passengers during a monster orgy. Rae repeatedly tries to outsmart her captor (including offering her body to him) and eventually manages to get rid of him. Then she desperately looks for her husband, who is surviving on a makeshift raft. They finally reunite. But Hughie manages to return and John has to finish him off.

Sliver (1993) is a voyeuristic thriller that deals both with sexual obsession and media pervasiveness.

Carly is an attractive business woman who lives in an apartment building of the big city. Jack is a colleague who is infatuated of her. Zeke is the owner of the building and also a technology guru. Women start dying mysteriously. Carly is seduced by Zeke even if she suspects him. She discovers that Zeke has installed cameras in every apartment and knows the intimate lives of all his tenants. He watches them just like watching tv. Instead of calling the police, she gets carried by the game. "It's like playing god". Zeke can even alert the police that a dirty old man is molesting his stepdaughter. Jack warns Carly that Zeke is the killer, and she accepts to set a trap for Zeke, but Zeke manages to survive and prove his innocence, while she accidentally kills Jack, whom the police declares the serial murderer. Case not closed because Carly discovers a tape of Zeke making love to one of the victims. Zeke tries in vain to stop her. She keeps watching and when she's ready to shoot Zeke she realizes that the man who kills the woman is indeed Jack. Then she points the revolver to the cameras and shoots them all. As a thriller, it is totally ineffective. As a metaphor on the intrusive media of the technological society, it couldn't be more trivial.
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