If you're going to have a crime drama complicated by love, you might as well make it interesting.
Okay, I have to admit that I'm really tired of seeing, time and time again, these "edgy" and rehashed two hour exercises in crime and drawn out moral hand-wringing. I understand the point - such situations really bring out both the drama and the action that appeal to people in different ways. My problem is that there are too many of them that, between the genuinely good ones, you just see the same sort of thing, over and over again.
Perhaps I'm getting crotchety in my old age, but I hardly feel the need to watch anything further in this category. But on my current upside-down schedule, I find myself at times too awake to sleep, and will search the channels for the least annoying thing on. Despite the horribly bland title, In the Shadows didn't actually succeed in putting me to sleep.
The son of a mob boss is working as a stuntman in Miami. He is to be launched out a window by an explosion in a building, but his thrillseeking nature foolishly turns up the pressure on the launcher, causing him to miss the window and be trapped inside when the explosives are triggered. His father, putting the responsibility on the stunt coordinator, dispatches a hitman to the scene.
This hitman is Eric O'byrne (Matthew Modine), doomed not to advance because he's not Italian, but very good at his job. Before he has a chance to make the hit, he is told to wait in Miami for official word. As a means of passing the time, he arranges to "run in" to the stunt coordinator's daughter (Joey Lauren Adams) and they end up hitting it off. As they get close, Eric gets to know his father, and even goes so far to play at being a stuntman himself. He starts to feel that he actually belongs here.
The other parts of the film are your standard crime/suspense elements and there's not much to say about them other than it's pretty much what you expect in this kind of film. The conclusion is more of the same, but with barely enough of the unexpected tossed in as well.
The only reason I don't toss this on the slagpile of bad crime flicks is that the main plot, while strong enough on character, manages to give us a feeling of wonder through Eric's eyes. The comparison between performing hits and performing stunts is easy to see, but speaks eloquently to our characters.
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