What the hell happened to Jeff Goldblumís career? Everything seemed to be going well, he was starring in loads of movies, guesting in other interesting ones and has now spent a decade in the relative doldrums with only Igby Goes Down and a couple of Jurassic Parks. Strange though, when you actually start looking, Jeff Goldblum hasnít so far left much of a cinematic legacy, despite his dynamism and big scary eyes.
He started off strongly, playing swarthy punk number one in Michael Winnerís Death Wish, the one that people say is actually a really good film whose reputation is marred by the many sequels. Whoever says this is wrong, it is still rubbish even if you don't know Death Wish 3 exists (the one where they used an area of London docklands to double for New York). The best that can be said is that it is not as bad as the others, but slightly more boring.
Throughout the rest of the seventies Goldblum forged his way into supporting roles in movies such as the excellent remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where smalltown paranoia was replaced with big city alienation, and Michael Winnerís The Sentinel, where a thing happened in a house. The eighties seems like his golden era with The Big Chill and the viscerally vile but haunting The Fly, but what else was there? Earth Girls Are Easy, Silverado and Mel Smithís The Tall Guy can't surely be the only films worth even mentioning? They are. The nineties had a couple of blockbuster roles where the CGI is the star, and the rest is forgettable, which is where Hideaway fits in.
Hideaway is the work of Brett Leonard, director of The Lawnmower Man, a movie so prestigious that it now comes free with another 200 movies when you buy a DVD player. Other films in the package include Dolph Lundgrenís The Punisher and Howling 4 (for many the weakest in the series). I don't know who makes these DVD players, but for some reason they thought it would be a good idea to have Jeremy Beadle as the face of the product - 'Hmmm, what says top notch quality and value? I know a man who has made a living fooling the gullible public by telling them that there were rats in the boxes they were going to put their hands in, or by bulldozing their hedge and arriving disguised as a traffic warden before they knifed a desperate actor...'
The Lawnmower Man was notable for being one of the only big screen movies to star Jeff Fahey and for showcasing a computer animation technique that was at least two notches up from Tron. Itís also pretty fun in a garish and look at Pierce Brosnan 'sort of acting' way. Leonardís next most famous film is Virtuosity in which Russell Crowe is an escaped computer generated psycho, its
stand out feature is that it has effects that are two notches up from Tron , and itís funny to think that 'serious actor' Russell Crowe might throw a pot plant at the television every time it is scheduled.
In between all this came Hideaway, a very bog standard 'I see through the eyes of a psycho since that accident' movie, oh, and it has some computer generated effects. I might as well say now SPOILERS, because I will be revealing everything that is meant to be twist even though you will have guessed them anyway, and anyway everything is spoiled enough if you have ended up having to watch this due to some ghastly error.
We start the movie with one of those prologues which we know will hold great significance for the action later in the film. A wan gothy boy goes into his satanís altar room and starts to disrobe and get his knife out. Someone who is probably his dad arrives home, oh golly, someone has sacrificed and wired up his wife and child into a macabre praying position. He hurries up the stairs, the camera carefully avoiding his face (so it will take the audience longer to guess that it is Alfred Molina later on in the film), and discovers his son, freshly self-impaled.
Now we meet lovely couple Jeff Goldblum and Christine Lahti and their slightly mopey daughter Alicia Silverstone (she likes Pearl Jam). Off they go one evening, driving down a windy road, but whatís this, a tired lorry driver coming in the opposite direction - bang, smash, down the ravine, Jeff is killed.
Fortunately top doctor Alfred Molina has ways of bringing the dead back, even after a good hour and a half. Mind you, his nurse does warn him - "Doctor, remember what happened the only other time you tried this" - soon Jeff is fine and dandy.
But whatís this? A dream or is it reality? He sees himself stabbing a girl then wakes up with a cut arm by the pool, has he become possessed by a psycho? Nope, Brett decides the audience wouldnít be interested in that level of intrigue and we quickly discover that he is seeing through the eyes of the wan goth boy.
Suffice to say, Jeffís friends start to die, his daughter is kidnapped, taken to an enormous abandoned fairground and nearly sacrificed before heaven and hell battle it out in something that looks a bit like Tron.
Every part of Hideaway is perfunctory. When Jeffís wife does her 'I just can't take this seeing through dead peopleís eyes thing you're going through' bit, we have had no clues that her husbandís possible total mental breakdown has been effecting her. Itís just there because the rules of screenwriting this kind of thing say it must be there. When Alfred Molina tries to stop his sonís terrible rein of gothy carnage he is dispensed with as all naughty fatherís who mess with their offspringís mortality via science are, though he has a dying breath to say 'sorry' to Jeff. The club where metal teens hang out is that one which must have been built on a Hollywood back lot in 1983 for a John Hughes movie and has been used ever since, the one which bears no similarity to reality. Itís a huge metallic warehouse with a noisy band on stage and 12 people dancing sweatily, but with no air of moshing, the kind of stage Psychedelic Furs might turn up on as a favour to the director who is desperately trying to impress his disenfranchised teen daughter (they don't).
Hideaway, like The Third Man, leaves us with many questions - just what has happened to Alicia Silverstoneís career in the last five years, could it really be that Hollywood are such size nazis that her refusal to go uber-skinny has left her without decent roles? Did screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker just strike it lucky with Se7en; in truth is he just a hack psycho thriller writer? Is Alfred Molina still married to Jill Gascoigne from The Gentle Touch?
But what of Brett Leonard and his magic animation box? He went off and directed T-Rex: Back To Cretaceous for the Imax people and then got employed by the peculiar Las Vegas tiger lovers Siegfried and Roy to make some sort of 3-d movie called The Magic Box (for those familiar with the magicianís faces, have you heard the rumour that the original Roy died and Siegfried had another blonde remold his face into an exact replica? - work probably best done by Professor Gunther Von Hagens).
Now Leonard is being employed in yet another of Marvelís 'for godís sake letís make hay while the sun shines' productions. This time itís the turn of Man Thing, whoever the hell he was, something to do with a swamp I think.