Someone to Watch Over Me opened in October of 1987. It was intended to be an adult-appeal thriller centered around an act of marital infidelity. Unfortunately, a little picture called Fatal Attraction opened less than a month beforehand and promptly became a national sensation. The Ridley Scott-directed film consequently was ignored at the box office. Shout Select brings it to Blu-ray on March 12, giving audiences a new opportunity to appreciate its fine performances and captivating visual style.
Tom Berenger plays a detective named Mike Keegan. He's a working class guy from Queens, happily married to wife Ellie (Lorraine Bracco). Mike's big assignment is to protect Claire Gregory (Mimi Rogers), a wealthy Manhattan socialite who witnessed a murder. Staked out in her luxurious apartment, he finds himself intrigued by such an opulent lifestyle. He's also drawn to how glamorous Claire is. When she wants to go out, he's required to accompany her. Together, they go shopping at fancy stores and attend an art exhibit at the Guggenheim. Attraction between them grows, and before long, a line is crossed. The killer, who's coming after Claire, uses this affair to his advantage.
There are definitely elements to enjoy in Someone to Watch Over Me. The performances are all strong, with Lorraine Bracco doing particularly fiery work as the scorned wife who can't believe her seemingly down-to-earth husband was seduced by this glamorous woman and her posh life. Berenger nicely shows how Mike's awkwardness masks a fascination with a world that is foreign to him, while Rogers perfectly embodies the New York elite of the era.
Ridley Scott has always been a director whose films have strong visual flair. He creates real atmosphere for Someone to Watch Over Me. The movie opens with Sting crooning the Gershwin song from which the picture gets its title over airborne shots of New York City glowing at night. From there, Scott repeatedly and powerfully contrasts the blue-collar neighborhood where Mike lives with the wealthy social circles of Claire. This is a beautiful film to look at.
Where Someone to Watch Over Me falters is, oddly enough, in the central relationship. The Mike/Claire fling isn't totally convincing. The story needs a few more scenes establishing the attraction between them to fully achieve its desired impact. Berenger and Rogers have a bit of a spark. With more expansion of their characters' bond, they might really have been able to light this movie on fire.
That proves to be a fairly substantial flaw. Still, Someone to Watch Over Me has enough good elements to make it watchable, if not necessarily a story on the level of Fatal Attraction.
Shout! Select includes a couple of interviews on the disc. Writer Howard Franklin discusses coming up with the movie's concept, how it changed over time, and his utter joy with the final product. Director of Photography Steven Poster, meanwhile, reveals how he and Scott created ambiance through the use of mirrors, water, smoke, and lighting. Anyone with an interest in the art of cinematography will find these revelations of great interest.
For more information on this and other titles in the Shout Select collection, please visit the official website.
Someone to Watch Over Me is rated R for adult situations/language and violence. The running time is 1 hour 46 minutes.