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Losing in the translation,
This review is from: Diabolique [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)A remake of a tense French original, this is a twist on the eternal triangle scenario as the two women attempt to dispose of their redundant lover.
Isabel Adjani owns a school for difficult boys: the most difficult of them is her brutish husband. Sharon Stone is his lover, drawn to the conclusion that life would be better without him. The two women plot a murder and execute it in chaotic fashion. The body, however, fails to lie down. Is he dead? Is he alive? Has someone seen them? Are they being blackmailed? And the very private eye of Kathy Bates is now investigating his disappearance.
As a plot, it has great potential. The cast is, potentially, excellent. But something is lost in the translation. What could and should have been a first-rate thriller is reduced to almost B-movie fare as plot and characterisation are subjected to Hollywood's ritual process of the bland leading the bland.
The whole production fails to crank up the tension and eroticism. Adjani's character is a former nun, an abused woman suffering from a heart condition: there is considerable potential here for sympathy, for drama, for erotic exploitation ... and yet the character comes across as insipid, most of the time reduced to a simpering, onlooker role.
Stone can deliver wonderful performances as a hard-bitten, assertive woman of the world, sexually predatory and self-confident ... yet the performance isn't quite convincing here. You feel she is reduced to a plastic stereotype and given no chance to envigorate her role. Even the explosive sexual tension between her and Adjani is reduced to the fizzle of a damp squib.
Bates, meanwhile, appears as a belligerent little rolly-poly detective with a sense of humour ... but her role doesn't quite get the comic leverage and dramatic presence it deserves.
All in all, the ingredients were there, but you are left feeling that while it tries hard, 'Diabolique' should have done much better.