Fall: the Price of Silence (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Such a serious sounding title, for such a silly movie.

I guess it was supposed to be a grade-B American version of the humorous, complicated, and violent British gangster pics. It has some laughs, but it just doesn't flow very well.

The chubby Baldwin not only stars in this, but directed it as well, and his directorial inexperience was evident. This particular kind of circular story with multiple intersecting plot lines and black humor is not an ideal choice for a fledgling helmsman.

Michael Madsen plays a baddie who is offered a deal by the feds out of the clear blue sky, either go down for a murder or turn over his boss. Of course, he goes immediately to his boss and reports the offer. The boss says "do it", because he has a master plan. He will pretend to send two hit men after Madsen to his hiding place. They will haul Madsen away from the federal marshal, then stage Madsen's death, using the corpse of a derelict to substitute. With Madsen "dead", there's no more case against the crime boss. 


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The film cuts back and forth between two basic sets of characters. First, Madsen and the fed, who somehow have to keep each other company for weeks of endless seclusion. Second, there are the two hit men. The Madsen scenes have a touch of wit about them, but the two hit men (Baldwin and Chad McQueen) are cartoon-dumb, and their scenes are too slapstick. The scenes with their mother and their chosen derelict are pure Catskills. 

And then there's a sub-plot about Madsen winning a $41 million dollar lottery, but being unable to cash the ticket because he's in the witness protection program. 

Instead of a sequential narrative, the director chose to start the film with part of a scene near the end (Madsen's fake death), and circle back there from the beginning. It deliberately tries to keep you guessing about what's goin' down, much like a Guy Richie film.

DVD for rental at Blockbuster only.

full screen only, no features

Not really very funny, and Baldwin is not exactly ready to step in for Tarantino and Richie in the genre of black humor crime capers.

 For insomniacs only.

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary. 5.6/10. It surprises me that it is that high.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D.

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