A Movie A Day #207: Every Breath (1994, directed by Steve Bing)


Jimmy (Judd Nelson) is an actor, best known for yelling in a toothpaste commercial.  However, Jimmy is a serious actor and his perfectionist attitude makes it difficult for him to even find work in commercials.  When a wealthy but impotent arms dealer named Richard (Patrick Bachau) offers to pay to watch Jimmy have sex with Richard’s wife, Lauren (Joanna Pacula), Jimmy agrees.  When Jimmy meets Lauren at a party, he introduces himself.  She walks away.  He introduces himself again.  She slaps him.  He follows her to a lesbian bar and ends up getting beaten up outside.  After all of that, he finally gets invited to accompany Lauren back to her mansion.  Suddenly, Richard emerges from the shadows, holding a gun.  He fires at Jimmy.  Jimmy screams but then discovers that the gun was full of blanks.  He has been the victim of an elaborate game, one that Richard and Lauren play every night with a constantly changing cast of victims.

At first, Jimmy is upset and humiliated.  He returns home to his clueless girlfriend (Camille Cooper) and tries to sleep it off.  But he can’t stop thinking about Lauren.  The next day, he returns to Richard and Lauren’s mansion and soon finds himself being dragged back into their games.  What Jimmy does not know is that Richard doesn’t just enjoy humiliating people.  He also likes to kill them.

Every Breath was the first and only movie to be directed by Hollywood real estate mogul, film producer, and political donor Steve Bing.  There are enough weird camera angles, dream sequences, and monologues about love and morality that it is obvious that Bing was going for something more artistic than the typical Judd Nelson direct-to-video production.  For a first time director, Bing’s direction is slick but not slick enough to make up for large plot holes and a lot of half-baked philosophical dialogue.  For all of its pretensions towards being something more, Every Breath is a typical 90s neo-noir with little to distinguish it from something like In The Cold of the Night or Body Chemistry.  As Lauren, Joanna Pacula is sultry and sexy while Patrick Bachau does a good job playing a junior grade Marquis de Sade.  As for Judd, he’s Judd Nelson, which means scenes like this:

Whenever I watch a Judd Nelson movie, I wonder what Burt Reynolds, Judd’s co-star from Shattered If Your Kid’s On Drugs, would think.

On the one hand, Every Breath is a pretentious movie about three unlikable people.

On the other hand, Joanna Pacula.

 

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