For a late night cable movie–how’s that description for a euphemism–Lake Consequence is shockingly okay. It runs ninety minutes (to facilitate more airings, undoubtedly) and it actually runs too long. The film’s at its best during the final third, when hunky tree trimmer Billy Zane has to get the bored housewife he’s been dallying around with (Joan Severance) back to her family.
Actually, without the middle, where Severance gets sucked into Zane’s absurdly sensual lifestyle–which includes Hollie L. Hummel as Zane’s lady friend and a small California mountain town entirely populated by Chinese people–it might even be good. Why is this small town important? So there can be a parade and a bathhouse and truly some amazing editing.
That sensual middle is a narrative waste of time and lengthy enough it plods, but between Harris Savides’s photography, the editing from James Gavin Bedford and Curtis Edge and George S. Clinton’s score, it’s wonderful filmmaking. Besides being too long, the problem–at least as far as how the narrative incorporates it–is the symbolism. Director Eisenman–and, to be fair, the script–goes overboard with the symbolism. Instead of Severance getting to act, she instead makes outlandish symbolic gestures.
They’re way too much and they drag the movie down. Until she and Zane get on the road, anyway.
Zane’s good in the mysterious romance novel stranger role, Severance is good, Hummel is terrible (so’s her part). Whip Hubley’s awful as Severance’s husband.
Consequence is accomplished (with qualifications).
Directed by Rafael Eisenman; screenplay by Zalman King, Melanie Finn and Henry Cobbold, based on a story by MacGregor Douglas; director of photography, Harris Savides; edited by James Gavin Bedford and Curtis Edge; music by George S. Clinton; production designer, Dominic Watkins; produced by Avram ‘Butch’ Kaplan; aired by Showtime.
Starring Billy Zane (Billy), Joan Severance (Irene), Hollie L. Hummel (Grace), Courtland Mead (Christopher), Dan Reed (Xiao) and Whip Hubley (Jim).