Into the Fire


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Into the Fire is a low-budget Canadian entry into the film noir sub-genre of femme fatale thrillers that was so popular in the 40s and became even more popular in the 80s after being resurrected by Body Heat. You know the drill: woman convinces a schmuck to kill her husband for one or more of the following reasons:

(1) husband is a monster

(2) hot, steamy sex

(3) insurance money

It is often convenient for the conniving tootsie to choose a drifter as her mark, in the model of The Postman Always Ring Twice, and this film follows that template. Of course, the noir plot invariably has a more going on beneath the surface, and the patsy never seems to end up with either the dame or the dough. In this case, it turns out that the woman and the husband are conspiring together. I can tell you that much without spoiling the plot since that detail is revealed about five minutes into the film.

And that's the biggest problem with the plot. The film would be far more interesting if the audience were led to believe that things are as they seem to the drifter, but the script tells too many of its secrets too early.

The second major plot problem is that the premise is not maintained consistently. The husband and wife are supposed to be having fake fights, and the poor naive drifter is supposed to hear them and come to the aid of the damsel in distress. In order to do that effectively, the camera needed to stay on the drifter in the guest house, or perhaps inside of his point of view, but it did not always do that. It peeked inside the main house, where the husband and wife seemed to be fighting for real. It may have been the director's intention to do that as an additional element of mystery. He had already convinced us that the pair were faking it, so maybe he wanted to introduce the possibility that we misunderstood their relationship, and that the wife's distress might be real. If that was the case, he failed, because all of the other details demonstrate precisely how they are plotting. For example, the wife sits at her make-up table and creates fake bruises to show the sap. Because all of the other details add up to "fake fights," the one look at an ostensibly real fight serves not to deepen the mystery, but simply to add unnecessary confusion. Are we seeing what really happened, or are we seeing what the drifter is picturing?

You've probably guessed that the script has more secrets. Since this genre is plot-driven, and since the conspiracy between the husband and wife is revealed immediately, there has to be more going on, and there is. First of all, you'll have to figure out exactly what the couple is plotting. Second, you'll get some more surprises and double-crosses at the end of the film. In my opinion, those twists are not big enough or unexpected enough to warrant an investment of even the mere 74 minutes it will take you to watch this flimsy project. (IMDb says 88 minutes, so the DVD may be expurgated.)

Sometimes the ending of a noir thriller is so clever and/or so ironic way that we can overlook some flaws in the development stage, but that doesn't happen here. The conclusion leaves a bad taste, and layers in no delicious ironies, so the destination is no more satisfying than the journey.




Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


A very weak genre effort, not worth seeing. I like this genre, but I would have found this film unbearable without the rarely-seen nudity, even with the short running time.


* No widescreen

* No features







No reviews online


4.3 IMDB summary (of 10)





At least there are two topless women to admire, as per the genre standard. Olivia D'Abo shows her breasts in a bath scene and a sex scene. Even that guilty pleasure is spoiled by the fact the camera reveals D'Abo to be wearing panties in the bathtub. See below, between the two hanging parts of the towel.


Susan Anspach shows her breasts twice as the femme fatale. Miss Anspach was 45 years old when she made this film, but was definitely still attractive enough to be a convincing seductress when shot in flattering light.

This represents the last of only three entries in her nudography, all of which occurred at age 38 or older. She did no nudity in 1970-1973 (ages 28-31) when she was getting roles in A-list projects with people like Nicholson and Woody. (Five Easy Pieces, Blume in Love, and Play it Again, Sam)