Writer| Director: Scott McGehee
Cast: Dennis Haysbert, Mel Harris, Sab Shimono, Dina Merrill, Michael Harris, David Graf
99min | Thriller | US
SUTURE starts out like a Helmut Lang fashion shoot that morphs into an early ’90s episode of CSI meets Emergency Ward Ten, if ever there was one. Stylish and slick in its chairoscuro monchrome credentials yet rather stagey in its execution and hollow in its characterisation. It is certainly ominous in tone, intimate in its close-ups and visually intriguing while leaving you hollow and empty like an evening with the ‘in crowd’.
We are in Phoenix Arizona where two unlikely brothers meet up for the first time in years: a black one named Clay (Dennis Haysbert) and his half-brother called Vincent (Michael Harris) who is white. All the other characters in this cult classic curio are of the persuasiom that the two look alike and this is vital to the plot. Not that there is much of a plot – this is more a stylised concept than a real story as it never really develops beyond the initial idea which is the brainchild of one Scott McGehee whose flimsy narrative serves merely as an vehicle for him to try out a series of interesting visual techniques and glossy mise-en-scenes.
Borrowing from Hitchcock and Bunuel, SUTURE loosely explores the premise that Vincent is the only person aware of the existence of his ‘identical’ half brother. So if he murders Clay, the body will be identitfed as Vincent’s; enabling Vincent to do away with their father, claim a vast inheritance and then disappear while everyone thinks he is dead. All this works quite ingeniously but the film is so theatrical and self-conscious it fails to be convincing as it plays out like a series of commercials for linen suits, cars, shower equipement or even art deco light fittings; more aware of how it is looking than how it is engaging the viewer as a piece of engaging cinema. Scott McGhee and his co-director David Siegel lack the directorial experience to make the arrestingly visual glide over something more meaningful and immersive. They have achieved the former but not the latter in this promising visual experiment. MT
ON DUEL FORMAT BLU\DVD COURTESY OF ARROW FILMS AND VIDEO | 4 JULY 2016