'Desperate Hours' seems like days

Mickey Rourke might consider signing with another agency. He seems to be in a rut, one losing film after another. Some have done well critically, but none has done that well financially.

His latest film, "Desperate Hours," is doing poorly with both audiences and critics, and you don't wonder why. A remake of the 1955 film of the same title, it is even more unbearable than the original, a movie that didn't do too well either but did have Fredric March and Humphrey Bogart in the cast.


The remake is done well enough. Michael Cimino directed, and the script was written by Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal and Joseph Hayes. It was Hayes who did the novel and play that led to the first movie version.

Before all that, there was the Life magazine story, one for which the magazine was sued by the people who had this experience in 1952. The victims claimed invasion of privacy. Life's "re-enactment" of the incident was much uglier than the actual experience, they said. The matter went to the Supreme Court, and the family lost the case, many years later. For reasons never explained, the novel, play and movie met with no such problems.


The new film version is tough to sit through, unless, of course, your idea of entertainment is a film in which a family is taken hostage and brutalized for almost two hours. If you find all this uncomfortable, go elsewhere.

The new version does move away from the home now and then, and that's nice. You do, however, dread returning to the house where estranged mother and father, along with young son and daughter, are being pushed around by a madman.

He is well played by Rourke, and there is nothing wrong with the performances of Anthony Hopkins and Mimi Rogers as the parents. Kelly Lynch, as the attorney who helps the killer escape, however, seems to do more skin time than is logically necessary.

Elias Koteas plays the killer's brother. He could pass for Robert De Niro's twin at times. Lindsay Krouse is a special agent for the FBI. She attempts a Southern accent, but that's all it is, an attempt.

The remake follows the plot of the original but not to the letter. The finale, for instance, involves the wife and not the son. This time it is mother who must place her faith in her husband. This much is gratifying, but you've got to sit through too much rough stuff before the climax.

"Desperate Hours" is showing at area theaters. It's about as much fun as a public hanging.

"Desperate Hours"

* Killers invade a suburban home and hold a family hostage.


CAST: Mickey Rourke, Anthony Hopkins, Mimi Rogers, Lindsay Crouse, Kelly Lynch, Elias Koteas

DIRECTOR: Michael Cimino

RATING: R (nudity, violence, language)

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes