TV Review: Thoughtcrimes
Wed Oct 13, 2004 07:54 PM ET
By Michael R. Farkash
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - USA scores big time in this science fiction thriller production, which emphasizes character and emotional obstacles as well as plot and gunplay.
Apart from a rushed opening and some overly dramatic moments, the telefilm is suspenseful, funny and satisfying. Executive producers Breck Eisner ("The Invisible Man," who also directs) and Jan de Bont ("Twister") frame this as a fast-paced actioner.
The story begins abruptly, with young Freya McAllister (Navi Rawat, "The O.C.") and her sister, June (Jocelyn Seagrave, "Pacific Palisades"), schmoozing at home as Freya gets ready for the prom
As with the title character in Stephen King's "Carrie," things don't go well at the big dance. Freya suddenly "overhears" dozens of voices, all shouting in her head. With melodramatic overkill, she develops an immediate case of full-blown telepathy. Overwhelmed, the young woman retreats into apparent schizophrenia and is institutionalized.
After Freya has endured the institution for a long while, enter Dr. Michael Welles (Peter Horton, "thirtysomething"), a doctor and researcher with secret government ties. He springs Freya and trains her to focus her telepathic abilities.
There are very clever uses of Freya's mind-reading ability, especially some well-conceived visuals where she unwillingly tunes in on the minds of hostile -- or lustful -- New Yorkers.
National Security Agency bigwig Jon Harper (Joe Morton, "Smallville") thinks it's a great idea to use Freya and her talent to probe the secrets of terrorists operating domestically. And so the woman is "drafted" to work alongside personable NSA agent Brendan Dean (Joe Flanigan, "Sisters"). The two make a very engaging team.
OK, maybe it's not so believable that Freya is so quickly pushed into the world of terrorists and spies, but the feisty character and the supporting players make it easy to go along for the ride.
It's a mark of thoughtful writing and direction that no one adjusts easily to Freya's telepathy, not even the woman herself. The idea of a "superpower" being both a blessing and a curse is played out well.
Wisely, writers Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (who also co-exec produce) keep the situation essentially rooted in thriller turf.
"Thoughtcrimes" could easily become a series, and that would be a very cool thing.
Cast: Freya McAllister: Navi Rawat; Brendan Dean: Joe Flanigan; Dr. Michael Welles: Peter Horton; Jon Harper: Joe Morton; June McAllister: Jocelyn Seagrave; Lars Etsen: Kim Coates; Zoya: Janet Wright; Agent Kunzel: Paulino Podhora; David McAllister: Barry Flatman.
Executive producers: Breck Eisner, Jan de Bont; Co-executive producers: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Boris Krutonog; Director: Breck Eisner; Writers: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer; Producer: George W. Perkins; Co-producer: Jessika Borsiczky; Associate producer: Paul M. Leonard; Director of photography: Chris Manley; Editor: Jay Cassidy; Music: Brian Tyler.
© Copyright Reuters 2004
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