"Black Widow" is an entertaining thriller about a psychopathic killer called Catherine Paterson (Theresa Russell) whose modus operandi involves marrying and murdering wealthy men before inheriting their fortunes and disappearing without trace. This woman of many identities is eventually pursued by a government agent and an unusual and intriguing relationship soon develops between the hunter and the hunted.
When a Justice Department agent who's involved in analysing computer data inadvertently discovers the existence of a series of deaths that bear certain similarities to each other, she becomes convinced that they're all the work of a serial killer. Unfortunately for Alexandra "Alex" Barnes (Debra Winger), her suspicions are based on intuition rather than hard evidence and she's unable to convince any of her colleagues or superiors that her findings warrant investigation.
The cases that Alex has studied involve the deaths of middle aged men who were married to a significantly younger woman. They had all died in their sleep and their deaths had been attributed to a rare condition called Ondine's Curse. Alex's persistence eventually pays off and she's authorised to go undercover to identify her suspect and prevent any further victims from being added to the list.
Alex's investigations lead her to Hawaii where she meets up with her suspect and the two women develop a friendship and become attracted to the same man. Catherine marries Paul Nuytten (Sami Frey) who's an international hotelier but when the police are investigating his apparent murder, they find evidence which points to Alex's guilt and she seems to be in a tight spot when she subsequently gets arrested and imprisoned.
An unusual feature of this movie is the nature of the relationship which develops between Catherine and Alex. The two women are quite different as Catherine is glamorous and Alex dresses in a style which is more dowdy and unattractive. Alex seems to deliberately play down her femininity but at the same time appears to be fascinated by Catherine who unashamedly and very successfully, uses her sexuality to get whatever she wants.
The sexual undercurrent which is hinted at initially is reinforced in a scene in which the two women practice mouth to mouth resuscitation on each other and also on another occasion when Catherine grabs Alex and kisses her aggressively. They bond by sharing things but there's also a lack of trust between them as neither loses sight of the fact that they are actually adversaries.
Catherine Paterson is a fascinating femme fatale who's very meticulous in researching her potential victims. She's very skilled at learning all the things she might need to know to communicate easily with her targets and also has a marvellous ability to change everything about herself in order to snare her next victim. Depending on which husband she has at the time, Catherine is variously seen as being sophisticated, a woman with a strong Texan accent or a more reserved lady who's rather demure.
Theresa Russell is particularly good at conveying Catherine's mysterious nature, her uncertain motivations and of course, the different characteristics she assumes when she's in the company of her various husbands. Debra Winger gives a fine performance as the dedicated workaholic who's obsessed with Catherine and determined to bring her to justice. The supporting cast are also good and James Hong is terrific in his minor role as a sleazy and sharp tongued private eye.
Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller
Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller
Catherine is a black widow. "She mates and then she kills". Black Widow is the story of a lady (Catherine) who marries lonely millionaires, waits until they've changed their will to leave all to their beloved wives and then murders them to inherit the fortune. With each man Catherine marries, she changes her appearance to suit the mans personality. Only there's one problem. Alexandra is a smart cookie and has found a link between these unexplained mysterious deaths and the partners wives. But now her only problem is proving that a killer is on the loose and saving herself from the deadly Black Widow.
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November 14, 2015 at 05:23 PM