Manhattan Night from 2016 is now streaming on Amazon Video and other sources. I’ve wanted to see it since it first came out because it has Jennifer Beals.
Jennifer Beals has a rather small part, as the wife of the main character Porter Wren (Adrien Brody). She’s a doctor. They have two kids.
Wren is a newspaperman who gets involved in an old fashioned noir mystery that almost costs him his life.
Wren is asked for help by Caroline Crowley (Yvonne Strahovski) because she thinks he can solve the mystery of her husband’s death. Her husband Simon Crowley (Campbell Scott) was a filmmaker. He took video of everything. With cameras hidden everywhere. Even though he’s dead, we see him in flashbacks as Wren works through the story. Simon Crowley was a creepy guy. As you first learn about him, you wonder why a beautiful woman like Caroline would pick him out and put up with him.
Caroline Crowley seduces Wren. They have a sort of affair as she uses him in her own way. As he learns more and more about her and Simon we see that they were both deranged. There’s some twisted psychology in the film, adding to the noir quality of it. It makes the mystery of what happened harder to unravel because everyone’s behavior is unpredictable.
Wren is threatened by his new boss because a video Simon took keeps arriving at his home and he wants it stopped. His boss knows Wren is having an affair with Caroline. Therefore, he expects Wren to find the original and make it stop. He’ll do anything to stop it, including shooting Wren’s 3 year old son in the arm. That subplot inserted a small part for another favorite actress of mine, Linda Lavin.
The mystery itself is interesting. Wren makes an good world weary, beaten down detective. The story is very male, told from Wren’s perspective.
The thing I liked most about Manhattan Night was Jennifer Beals. Even though she wasn’t the focus of the film, she was the reason I watched it. Jennifer Beals and Campbell Scott had no scenes together, but this makes at least the 4th film they’ve been in together.
It was interesting to see Yvonne Strahovski in something she did before The Handmaid’s Tale came along.
If you like a dark mystery, Manhattan Night will suit. It isn’t the best story ever told, but certain actors are always worth the watch.