Urban Cinefile
"I never believed that life and farce are mutually exclusive - they're much the same in fact. "  -- P.J. Hogan, on his film Muriel's Wedding
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Harry Ross (Paul Newman) is a retired LA private investigator, who agrees to do a favour for his long-time friends, former screen legend Jack Ames (Gene Hackman) and his wife Catherine (Susan Sarandon). He has been living with the couple since he landed a bullet on the job, when seeking out their daughter (Reece Witherspoon) a couple of years earlier. But the favour sets him on a path that re-opens issues of the past, and puts him in the middle of a complex murder mystery, complicated by blackmail and greed.

"Twilight showcases sparkling, resonating performances from three polished top-liners who deliver crisp dialogue with panache and style. This complex character driven mystery-drama, set in the City of Angels, is about winners, losers, making your own luck, beating the odds and moral responsibility. It is an insightful glimpse into the lives of the privileged, those who would like to be privileged, and those who are accepting of who they are and their place in life. Everything is relative - well explained when Catherine says "We’re broke." And Harry replies, "No, I’m broke; you’re over-extended." Robert Benton & Richard Russo’s intelligent script tells the tale from the point of view of an ex-cop and private investigator, who has a clear grasp of who he is, and despite his idealistic outlook, has become slightly cynical over the years. There are no stunts to stupify, or action to dazzle – but outstanding performances that dig deep into the human psyche, revealing more and more with every conversation. Each exchange engages: Hackman and Newman, Sarandon and Newman, Sarandon and Hackman. The characters are humanised by their vulnerabilities and qualities (or lack of them), that make them who they are. Paul Newman displays all the grace, dignity and class of the consummate actor he is, while Hackman is ever-strong and Sarandon magnetic. Twilight will appeal to the right audience, who will appreciate seasoned performances intricate with detail and depth, and clearly display no lack of passion or spirit as the sun sinks in the west."
Louise Keller

"What a pleasure it is to see a film that has all the right ingredients perfectly blended in such a delicious mix. Of course, a film featuring the likes of Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon and James Garner, is going to be irresistible, and this film doesn't disappoint. Not only does Twilight remind us of the true nature of movie stardom, it also comes complete with a cracking good yarn, a slowly developed but sardonically entertaining film noir detective thriller, the kind you never see, with sly dollops of delicious humour thrown in for good measure. Featuring an intelligent screenplay co- written by veteran writer/director Robert Benton, it's understandable why the film didn't click in the US: it has dialogue, people, words uttered with meaning and conviction. This is not one of those mindless action pics that say absolutely nothing, but a rather a movie which is both atmospheric, intelligent and with strong characters. Sure it takes its time, but while unravelling its complex plot through the wry voice over of protagonist Newman, the audience is treated to some masterful interaction of actors who light up the screen so effortlessly with a nuance here, and a wink there. All four of these guys are luminous, and a reminder of what American cinema is capable of delivering. Add to that Elmer Bernstein's evocative score and the scintillating cinematography of Piotr Sobocinski, and you have an unforgettable and intensely enjoyable movie experience from woe to go."
Paul Fischer

"Very much befitting its title, Twilight is an autumnal murder mystery awash in rueful intimations of mortality. … But the truly stellar cast, led by the Oscared top-billed trio of Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon and Gene Hackman, ensures that whatever is happening on screen, however incredible, will still be worth watching…. Benton, co-writer Richard Russo and Newman, who scored last time out with Nobody’s Fool, have teamed this time on an original piece that plays like a riff on Philip Marlowe in old age, complete with jaundiced observations on LA lifestyles, lower-class probing into upper-class corruption, and mon-eyed privilege removing celebrities from moral and legal accountability…. Despite their increasing frailty, however their passions and sense of purpose remain at full flame, and the determination to get what they want underlines all the lead performances. In this, Hackman’s housebound Jack is the most tenacious and underhanded, while Sarandon’s alluring Catherine has a much more charming, as well as honest, way of stating her case and achieving her ends..."
Todd McCarthy, Variety

Email this article


Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0



CAST: Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Gene Hackman, Reese Witherspoon, Stockard Channing, James Garner, Giancarlo Esposito, Live Schreiber, Margo Martindale, John Spencer, M. Emmet Walsh

DIRECTOR: Robert Benton

PRODUCER: Arlene Donovan, Scott Rudin

SCRIPT: Robert Benton, Richard Russo


EDITOR: Carol Littleton

MUSIC: Elmer Bernstein


RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes




© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020