Film Review: Primary Suspect (Informer, 2000)

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Mixing private and professional life seldom leads to anything good, especially if the profession is part of law enforcement. Protagonist of Primary Suspect, 2000 crime film directed by Jeff Celentano, learns that the hard way. Christian Box (played by William Baldwin) is Denver policeman whose wife, a DEA agent, was killed at the order of drug lord Reuben (played by Vincent Castellanos). To make things worse, it was all due to sting operation that turned into major bloodbath and during which Box became addicted to drugs. He was taken off the case and barely kept this job, being relegated to desk duty under watchful eyes of Internal Affairs. However, when Box’s former partner Nemanski (played by Tim Ryan) offers that two of them take down Reuben by themselves, Box agrees. Under the guise of a small time dealer he sets up major drug deal in a hotel. However, things get complicated when, instead of Reuben, he has to greet his fiancee Nikki (played by Brigitte Bako). Box’s life starts to turn for the worse and he begins to doubt whether he was a victim of cruel manipulation.

Primary Suspect (also known under alternative title Informer) doesn’t distinguish itself from most low budget crime films in terms of plot, but director Jeff Celentano tries to compensate it with the style and atmosphere which is much darker than in the other films of the same genre. William Baldwin takes his role quite seriously and portrays policeman struggling with personal demons in a convincing way. Brigitte Bako, Canadian actress best known for her role in Red Shoe Diaries and as strangling victim in Strange Days, handles her rather thankless role quite well. The rest of the cast, which also includes Lee Majors, star of 1970s TV series The Six Million Dollar Man, is also solid. It is also refreshing to have a film set in Denver, city that usually wasn’t too interesting for Hollywood film makers. However, script by D. Alvelo and Marc Bienstock succumb to cliches, especially near the ultra-sentimental and unconvincing finale, which also features another “surprise” plot twist. Primary Suspect thus ends as disappointment that can’t be recommended to anyone with something better to spend hour and half on.

RATING: 4/10 (+)

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