Restless/Hot Target

A Variety Review - November 13, 1985

"An unlikely pickup for teen-orientated Crown International Restless / Hot Target starts out as a soft-core romance, complete with appropriately tacky music, but eventually hardens into a Claude Chabrolesque exploration of obsessive passion among the rich and restless. Unusual hybrid leaves the film floating in a commercial nether world with no help from its non-sequitur title. Crown will have its work cut out for it with this N.Z. oddity. Part of the problem is that it is neither good enough to win over more discerning film goers nor bad enough for the exploitation crowd. It is in fact a good deal above average with director Lewiston displaying considerable talent as well as lapses, from his inexperience.

Rather than getting inside the lives of the rich heroine and her burglar boyfriend who kills the husband in an act of passion, Lewiston plots their progress too methodically. One never gets caught up in the heat of their relationship and even their love making scenes seem more forced than essential. The American heroine is married to a wealthy and heartless N.Z. businessman when she gets entangled with the burglar, who masterminds a casual meeting in order to arrange a heist from her house. Lust turns to love and the plot thickens with some fairly interesting turns along the way.

The second half picks up considerably after the crime has entrapped the lovers in an inextricable web. Climactic chase scene at a racetrack has the nail biting suspense necessary to make the genre satisfying but which is largely missing elsewhere. Lewiston takes too long getting round to the deadly business at hand with the editing never really hitting the mark. The trick to pulling off this kind of farce is a delicate sense of balance which Lewiston is able to sustain only part of the time. Production values are passable without really achieving the required sheen and high gloss for the material."

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