- Movie Rating -

Gotcha! (1985)

| May 3, 1985

Gotcha! Feels like one of those feather-weight thrillers that might have starred Cary Grant in decades past.  Actually, I could probably say that about any thriller but given Grant’s charm and his ability to play ordinary man trapped in a web of intrigue, it might have been infinitely better.  Actually, it was done better as North by Northwest.  See that film instead of this one.

If I sound like I’m stalling, it might be because I am having a problem recalling much of Gotcha!  Its one of those movies that you’re wrapped up in while you’re watching it, but you’re not so engaged when it is over.  You remember the title but not the plot.  It’s yet another one of those thrillers about an American named Jonathan (Anthony Edwards) who, while vacationing abroad, gets wrapped up in international intrigue involving a microfilm and a mysterious beautiful woman.

The movie begins with a game being played by college students called “Gotcha!” which involves chasing each other around with paintball guns.  No points for guessing that this will be played for real later one.  Anyway, Jonathan talks his parents into letting him take a trip to Paris and, fresh off the plane, he meets a gorgeous Czech woman named Sasha (Linda Fiorentino) who leads him all-to-quickly into her bed.

This is immediately where alarm bells should go off in his mind and so should her request that he accompany her to East Germany.  Suddenly, and not surprisingly, it turns out that she’s a spy and the couple are being chased all over the place by East German cops and Russian spies.  Actually, this section of the movie is fairly exciting.  The chases are exciting despite the obvious callback to the “Gotcha” game, and Sasha and Jonathan do have a nice chemistry together.

The movie is very well directed by Jeff Kanew whose credits are mostly in editing, but the script needed restructuring.  The scenes in the third act when Jonathan goes back to America and effectively explains in exposition everything that we just saw are unnecessary.  So too is the idea of the American in Europe.  I would have been just as happy to follow Sasha around even without Jonathan.  She’s interesting.  Her life is interesting.  Her job is interest.  Her circumstances are interesting.  Who is she and where did she come from?  I was more interested in her personally then I was in her relationship (in spite of their good chemistry) with this dopey kid from the states.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Action