"Caught" abounds in piscine imagery, but all this fishy business cannot hide its true identity as a strange cross-breeding of "On the Waterfront" and "The Postman Always Rings Twice."
At the start of this resolutely gritty film by Robert M. Young, a scuzzy drifter named Nick flees from the cops and slips into a fish shop run by kindly, needy Betty and gruff, salt-of-the-earth Joe. They take Nick in, and he becomes trapped in a net cast by Betty, Joe's much younger, bombshell wife.
Betty (the stunning Maria Conchita Alonso) and Nick (rendered as a Brando wannabe by newcomer Arie Verveen) eventually begin a dangerous fandango. Weirdly enough, Joe (Edward James Olmos) never catches on.
Tension is heightened when the couple's son, Danny (Steven Schub), a failure as a comedian, returns home with his wife and young son. Almost immediately, he sees what his father is blind to.
As it nears its conclusion, "Caught" becomes more and more predictable, yet also more exciting.
But adultery in New Jersey does not add up to tragedy. Joe is likable but too macho. Nick is just a stud from nowhere. Betty is vain and confused. Danny is a mess. Moviegoers in search of a good time will not want to get caught up in their problems.
The movie opens at the Charles today.
Released by Sony Pictures Classics
Rating Unrated (adult material)
Sun score: **
Pub Date: 12/06/96