US, 1986, 97 minutes, Colour.
Lesley Ann Warren, Peter Weller, John Glover, Harvey Feinstein, Charles S. Noth.
Directed by Robert Bierman.
Apology is an interesting thriller, a woman menaced by a madman. Familiar material, perhaps, but done with some style. The screenplay is by playwright Mark Medoff, author of Children of a Lesser God. The film has good credentials, including an atmospheric score by Maurice Jarre.
The title indicates a work of art, kinetic sculpture, by Lesley Anne Warren as the heroine. She devises a walk-through experience where the viewer listens to confessions made by people who haven't apologised or confessed to other people. She sets up a phone service to record these apologies. Needless to say, a psychotic killer comes on the phone. There are several murders and she and her daughter are threatened. Peter Weller (Buckaroo Bonsai Robo Cop) plays the police investigator.
The film has some suspense - and is quite good of its kind.
1. Interesting thriller? Police story? Atmosphere of menace?
2. New York locations, the emphasis on darkness and shadow, the streets of New York, apartments, art galleries? The atmosphere of police investigations? The works of art - the kinetic sculptures? The musical score?
3. The credibility of the central plot, the idea of the apology; the psychological implications, the atmosphere of wrongdoing, crime? The police and the investigation? The artist and her vision - and contact with reality?
4. The title, the idea, the posters around the city, the range of people ringing up and the variety of their offences? Claude and his confessions? Burnett and his investigation for the paper, the interview with Lily, the publication of the article? The parallelism with confession? The irony of the people thinking they were confessing to a man and discovering they were confessing to a woman? Apology and expiation?
5. The themes of art, modern art, the artist's vision? The apology work: the grilles, the voices, expiation? Lily and her ideas, joy at getting the phone calls, her hopes? her adviser and the engineering required for the work of art? Anna and her attitude towards the project? Philip and his critique? The end and Lily's facing the work of art, destroying it? Her apology in the final voice-over?
6. Lily and her art, her relationship with her ex-husband, her daughter? The ex-husband's girlfriend? Her work, relationship with Philip, clashes? Exhibitions? The assistant and his help with the apology? her joy, the crank phone calls, suspicions, the police arriving, the interview with Burnett, his death and its ugliness, a growing anxiety, contact with the police, Claude's phone calls, going to the restaurant and being seen by him, her relationship with Hungate, the bad start, discussion about art-and murder, the meal together, the relationship, the affair? Her relationship with Anna, Anna's criticism of the art and her apology? The growing number of deaths? Her reaction to Philip's death? At the police station, her decision to invite Claude and confront him, her fears for Anna, the confrontation and Claude's death? Her final apology?
8. Anna, the broken family, her relationship with her mother, the criticisms of her mother being pretentious, helping her mother, going to the galleries, the final danger? Her relationship with her father and prospective stepmother?
9. Philip and his art background, the break with Lily, his erratic attitudes and behaviour, the suspicions about the murders, the momentary suspicions that he was the killer, his spying on Lily, his death? Benzinger and the gallery, the works of art, Lily's relationship with him and the cancelling of the exhibition? His death?
10. The ugliness of the murders: the initial homosexual murder and the graphic detail, Burnett and his interview, Philip, the assistant on the work of art, Benzinger?
11. Claude as a voice, the idea of apology, his discovering who Lily was, seeing her, setting her up, following her? His being revealed to the audience only at the end? Menacing, following Anna on the subway? In the work of art, the confrontation and his death?
12. Harvey Feirstein and his guest spot as the derelict outside the door - an idiosyncratic and comic touch?
13. The mood of the film, menace, a sick world, art and reality?
14. Themes of crime, personal involvement, police investigation?
15. Hungate: Peter Weller and his style, type, at home and his relationship with his wife, in the court with the Grand jury, his explanation of firing in self defence, the 15~year-old with the gun and the hostage. His relationship with his superior officers? The corpses and the murderer? Going to Lily? Fencing with her, returning and taking her to a meal? His visit to the art exhibition - and the satire on the art performance,. his cynical responses? The death of the reporter? His infatuation with Lily, the affair, Philip and his lurking, his falling to his death? His investigations, protecting Lily, the set-up and the final rescue? As a type, his job, people's attitudes towards the police?