blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Impulse (1990, Sondra Locke)

Theresa Russell stars in IMPULSE, directed by Sondra Locke for Warner Bros.

Impulse is somewhat interesting as a piece of pseudo-feminist filmmaking. Not to suggest Locke’s a poser. It’s just her intentions can’t compete with her script.

The script appears to have come from two actors turned writers. Leigh Chapman seems to have been brought in to female-up the script.

There are some really nice little moments, like suitor Jeff Fahey being turned away by Russell because she doesn’t need the male comforting. There’s an effective scene concerning their differences.

But then there’s an awkward love scene; it’s hard not to think was simply put in as a love scene directed by a female director sort of as critic bait–to give them something to talk about it. It’s a useless scene.

Russell’s decent, nothing more. There’s a lot of focus on her hair.

Her character’s constantly undercover and wearing a wire and her superior officer (George Dzundza in a bad performance) is supposed to be monitoring the wire. But the wire never works, so she’s always put in these dangerous situations and he never worries about them because–well, fifty-fifty between him trusting her ability and his dislike for her because she rejects his advances.

There’s a whole film in just that conflict… a better one.

Fahey’s fine. Alan Rosenberg’s funny as his assistant. Lynne Thigpen is good as Russell’s psychiatrist. Nick Savage turns up to remind the viewer “Hill Street Blues” is more realistic than eighties cop movies.

Impulse is dismissible, which it never should have been.



Directed by Sondra Locke; screenplay by John DeMarco and Leigh Chapman, based on a story by DeMarco; director of photography, Dean Semler; edited by John W. Wheeler; music by Michel Colombier; production designer, William A. Elliot; produced by Andre Morgan and Albert S. Ruddy; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Theresa Russell (Lottie Mason), Jeff Fahey (Stan), George Dzundza (Lt. Joe Morgan), Alan Rosenberg (Charley Katz), Nicholas Mele (Rossi), Eli Danker (Dimarjian), Charles McCaughan (Frank Munoff), Lynne Thigpen (Dr. Gardner), Shawn Elliott (Tony Peron), Angelo Tiffe (Luke), Christopher Lawford (Steve) and Nick Savage (Edge).


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