Gere gets Bassinger on his couch
"Final Analysis" is quite an interesting movie ,an early 90s psychological thriller which sees Richard Gere and Kim Basinger reunite on the big screen having appeared together 6 years earlier in "No Mercy". It's not actually as bad so many 90s psychological thrillers ended up and is a mixture of Hitchcock, with the a touch of "Basic Instinct" as well as a bit of "Fatal Attraction". It's sexy, clever and in fact at times quite thrilling, but all that is spoilt by it being both a little convoluted and also very laborious making it at times slow and hard work.
Expert psychiatrist Isaac Barr (Richard Gere - Pretty Woman) finds himself falling for Heather (Kim Basinger - 9 1/2 Weeks) the sister of a woman he's been treating but it's a messy situation especially seeing that Heather is married to Greek mobster Jimmy Evans (Eric Roberts - Best of the Best). When Jimmy is murdered and Heather is accused of the crime Isaac uses all his powers to get her acquitted of murder, but suddenly begins to doubt her innocence and his part in the whole mess.
It's impossible not to recognize the influence of Hitchcock on "Final Analysis" from the story and characters through to the visual styling. It's not in the same league as the master of suspense but it does a surprisingly good job and in doing so is quite enjoyable. The storyline itself is unexpectedly entertaining with a psychiatrist drawn into the lives of a patient and her sister which leads to a murder and of course the battle to prove innocence. It is at times a little obvious, elements are set up early on which you know will become pivotal later on such as the dumbbell bar which Heather carries in her bag and the lighthouse that Isaac and Heaver visit but whist you know they will be pivotal you're not entirely sure how.
The characters as well are pretty good and again nod their hat to Hitchcock with the central male character stuck in the middle of a murderous game. But what is more important is that they are both diverse and well acted, Richard Gere actually comes across quite believably as psychiatrist Isaac Barr and there is strong chemistry between him and Kim Basinger who is just as good as the strong, sexy Heather Evans. Plus Uma Thurman adds to the mix playing Heather's sister and patient of Isaac's Diana a slightly vulnerable, unstable character. The trio of diverse characters work well together and there is an almost ambiguity about certain relationships leading you to question of what is really going on, who is really pulling the strings so to speak.
And again the whole way the movie comes across feels very Hitchcock like with a visual styling similar to the master. The scenes at the lighthouse as the camera stares up inside the tower with the spiral staircase going off into the distance looks like something Hitchcock would have done himself and Phil Joanou has done well to not to so much mimic the style but show its influence without feel like being a heavy handed copy.
But moving on from all the Hitchcock inspired-ness there is a more contemporary feel a sexiness which you would sort of expect from an early 90s thriller. As such the relationship which forms between Isaac and Heather is passionate and we get the expected sex scene, although by no means is it a sex scene which feels like soft porn. Yes it's steamy and we see a topless Kim Basinger riving in sexual ecstasy but in a way it's tasteful, atmospherically filmed so that it feels a natural part of the movie instead of just a sex scene to gain notoriety unlike other sexy thrillers.
But despite all of this there are some flaws and one of the most notable ones is that "Final Analysis" is a movie which demands your attention. That in itself is not an issue but it twists about so much that it's near on impossible to follow and also be entertained just on one viewing. There are so many different elements, so many twists it ends up becoming hard going to really work out who is basically screwing who. It's good because it sort of keeps you guessing, it gets you close to the edge of your seat as things move towards an end but you can easily miss something important as you become distracted by something else.
All this complexity adds another issue and that is to develop all of it into a reasonably tight storyline it struggles with being laborious. This is most certainly a case for nearly the first hour as it endeavours to build up the various characters and the individual quirks such as Heather suffering from "Pathological Intoxication" which apparently is a true medical condition. In a way its good that everything is tied together, from Diana's dreams about flowers, through to the way it builds up the character of Isaac as an expert but it makes it struggle for pace and becomes heavy going. Thankfully the second hour finds the right pace but a knock on effect is that you can miss something critical to the storyline when it becomes bogged down tying it all together.
What this all boils down to is that "Final Analysis" is a surprisingly good thriller one very much in the style of Hitchcock and the sort of thing which he may have been making if he'd still been around. It keeps you interested and guessing as well as giving it a more contemporary sexy feeling with the steam sex scene but it does suffer from being laborious and overly complex as it throws twist after twist at you. It's the sort of movie you have to watch twice once for the entertainment and a second to work it all out.