Numbed after witnessing a colleague’s murder, security guard Trixie Zurbo accepts a laidback job at a lakefront casino, working undercover to nab pickpockets. Here, Trixie meets a colorful assortment of regulars, including Ruby, a glamorous young barfly and Dex, a raffish ladies’ man. Later, in a chance meeting at the local diner, Dex invites Trixie onto a yacht belonging to his boss, Red Rafferty, a corrupt developer. Red unexpectedly shows up with his own guests, including Dawn, a strung-out, never-was lounge singer and the high-powered State Senator, Drummond Avery. After Trixie rejects Red’s advances, he orders her off the boat. She returns home to find Dex who’s quit working for Red and makes his feelings for her passionately clear. They begin making love, but are interrupted by Red’s brutal henchmen who demand to know the whereabouts of Dawn and “the tape.” Dex doesn’t talk. Later, from his hospital bed, Dex urges Trixie to find Dawn and she promptly embarks on her first real “case.” –inbaseline.com
The son of director Oscar Rudolph, writer-director Alan Rudolph followed in the footsteps of mentor Robert Altman, embracing a similar kind of ensemble picture while pursuing his own personal, less satiric, more human vision. Despised by mainstream Hollywood, he has managed to stay true to his idiosyncratic muse and remain in the game despite never having had a breakthrough commercial success. Rudolph’s dialogue has a snappy, flirtatious quality, and his distinctive “pan-and-zoom” style allows audiences to experience performances that are not built from cut to cut. It is not unusual for a Rudolph film to contain four or five shots that are as long as six or seven minutes, unheard of in this era of high-tech editing. Actors who like working with him because he lets them get into real-life rhythms wave their usual salaries, enabling him to adhere to ridiculously low budgets, and he frequently reteams with his talent, knowing that subsequent collaborations will only be richer.
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