Masquerade (1988) starring Rob Lowe, Meg Tilly, Kim Cattrall, Doug Savant, John Glover, Dana Delany directed by Bob Swaim - movie review on The Movie Scene

Masquerade (1988)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Rob Lowe and Meg Tilly in Masquerade (1988)

Sex, Sailing and Subterfuge

To review "Masquerade" inevitably means I have to mention certain things, a rough synopsis for a start, but that automatically means I am going to mention things which whilst not spoilers will still spoil the movie for those who watch in innocence. And in many ways that is the best way to watch "Masquerade", knowing as little as possible other than it stars Rob Lowe, Meg Tilly and Kim Cattrall. But if you want to know more and my opinion well here we have one of those thrillers which whilst starting out as one thing delivers a new twist ever so on which switches things around, you may think you know what is going on but a twist will arrive which forces you to think again. It's not the greatest of thrillers; the romantic/sexual tone of the story makes it feel like a predecessor to "Basic Instinct" just without great thrills. But "Masquerade" is entertaining and if you've never seen it the twists will keep you watching.

Olivia Lawrence (Meg Tilly - The Big Chill) is the heir to a $200 million fortune following her mother's death just a couple of months earlier but she also has to deal with her late mother's last husband Tony Gateworth (John Glover) who she detests. But having moved back to the Hampton residence, where Tony happens to be staying, Olivia meets and falls for handsome yachtsman Tim Whalen (Rob Lowe - About Last Night) who had been having an affair with his boss's wife Brooke Morrison (Kim Cattrall). But whilst Olivia falls for Tim it is plain to see he is not being totally truthful with her and when an incident sees the police start investigating Olivia is grateful to her old friend Mike (Doug Savant), now a cop, who seems to turn a blind eye to some obvious evidence.

Doug Savant as Mike McGill in Masquerade (1988)

When "Masquerade" starts it seems quite obvious here we have the young, innocent and seemingly fragile Olivia returning to the Hampton's where she meets Tim. We know Tim is a player because of the fact he his banging his bosses wife whilst spending plenty of his bosses money on the yacht he is Captaining. It immediately leads us to think that Tim is a hustler, a guy probably from a poor childhood who goes from one rich marina to another where thanks to his boyish looks sleeps around with rich women before leaving with money and leaving a broken heart behind. It makes sense especially when he is introduced to Olivia and charms his way into the timid woman's life with romantic meals, beach walks etc etc.

But the thing is that this is where we get the first twist which without going into any detail makes us discover something about Tim we never knew. Okay so one twist isn't that special when it comes to thrillers but then just as we get are heads around this first twist we get another and then another and then a more subtle twist before we get a final one right at the end. It makes "Masquerade" an interesting movie because of this constant series of changes but at the same time it also leaves a lot of questions unanswered, some of which are very important. That means that you shouldn't try and work out why things happen but just enjoy the way it makes the storyline evolve.

As for the acting well for the most it is ordinary with Rob Lowe as Tim Whalen delivering the young charmer character which he often found himself cast in. In fairness Lowe is ideally cast but there is nothing brilliant about his performance, the same with Doug Savant, Dana Delany and Kim Cattrall who are all solid but unremarkable. On the other hand there is Meg Tilly as Olivia and there is something strangely fascinating about her because of this almost broken persona she starts out as but then grows stronger the longer the movie goes on.

What this all boils down to is that "Masquerade" is not a great thriller, these are not great performances from Rob Lowe, Meg Tilly or anyone else but it is entertaining because of the way it keeps on throwing big twists at us.


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