Picks and Pans Review: Romeo Is Bleeding

updated 02/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Gary Oldman, Lena Olin, Annabella Sciorra, Juliette Lewis

Oldman is a cop assigned to the Organized Crime Task Force in this stylish if rather thin and out-of-control black comedy. He's the kind of guy who's always listening to a voice inside—the wrong voice. This voice tells Oldman he deserves more than what he already has: job security, an appealing wife (Sciorra) and an obliging mistress (the sensational Lewis). It's this wrong voice that urges him into an arrangement with the mob: providing information about members of the Witness Protection Program, the very folks he's supposed to be safeguarding. But Oldman could use protection himself—against Olin, a gangster with a taunting laugh and a body that won't quit. Oldman's life becomes more tangled when he's tapped by his bosses to protect Olin, and tapped—quite hard—by crime boss Roy Scheider to rub Olin out. Romeo Is Bleeding, despite its crackling dialogue, is in too much of a hurry to tell its story and doesn't spend enough time on character development. Supposedly, it's the image of his wife that gets Oldman through the most parlous situations. But Sciorra is drawn too sketchily to make her talismanic power understandable. A bigger problem is the Olin-Oldman face-off. While Olin is certainly cold-blooded, she isn't crafty in an interesting way, and Oldman isn't crafty at all. Consequently, watching them circle each other isn't nearly as entertaining as it ought to be. (R)

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