Gina Gershon shines in solid ‘Breathless’

To get something out of the way first, no, this is not a remake nor has anything to do with the film of the same title by Jean-Luc Godard. So if you were sweating, you can stop now. While this Breathless now on Blu Ray doesn’t have Godard behind it, it’s still a solid, entertaining piece that deserves a look.

Somewhere in 1981 Texas, Lorna (Gina Gershon) knocks out her husband Dale (Val Kilmer) and phones over her best friend Tiny (Kelli Giddish). She suspects that Dale has stolen $100,000 from a bank and is hiding it somewhere in their trailer. She asks for Tiny’s help and offers to split the money when they get it; Tiny of course agrees.

They tie up Dale and at gunpoint try to get him to talk, but he denies it as much as he can. He does slip that he robbed the bank, but he doesn’t reveal what he did with the money. This is as much as they get from him, as Lorna then accidently jerks the gun and shoots him in the head.

Val Kilmer in 'Breathless'
Val Kilmer in ‘Breathless’

Now completely freaked out, the ladies have to figure out not only where the money is, but also how to dispose of the body. A major complication soon arises when Sherriff Cooley (Ray Liotta) comes knocking. He’s looking for Dale and doesn’t buy Lorna’s story that he’s out for a walk. Because Lorna refuses to let him in without a warrant, he decides that until he gets one, he’ll wait in his car with a close eye on the trailer.

It all feels very much like a stage play, and moves along at a brisk enough pace so that the fact that the whole thing takes place in a single location isn’t all too noticeable. And to continue with that comparison, the segments involving gore, such a blender erupting blood that splashes Lorna and Tiny, give the proceedings a touch of Grand Guignol.

And also like a stage play, the performances come to the forefront. It’s isn’t common for Gershon to get a leading role, but when she does she impresses. Certainly does here. And Giddish is quite a standout, with a couple great moments of her own.

Kelli Giddish delivers in 'Breathless'
Kelli Giddish delivers in ‘Breathless’

Only real flaw is that it appears to be conceived as comedic, but it’s really not all that funny. It’s humorous in places sure, particularly in the vocabulary of the characters which seems more advanced, but nothing that will bring much laughing out loud. As the movie is, I don’t think it straight thriller would have been best; some lightheartedness is definitely needed. There just should have been more effort in making it funny.

Extras are a commentary with writer/director Jesse Baget and producer Christine Holden, a 15-minute making of featurette, and a DVD of the movie.

Breathless may not leave you in such a state (that was really lame, I know), it can give a fun enough time. You won’t be disappointed if you decide to take it in.

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