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Artistic License Films
NEW YORK — Other than rare exceptions like “Body Heat,” modern attempts at replicating the conventions of film noir rarely succeed. The latest example is “If I Didn’t Care,” an indie effort written, directed and produced by the Cummings brothers (Ben and Orson) that is set in the tony, midwinter environs of the Hamptons. It is playing at theaters in Manhattan and, appropriately, Sag Harbor in Long Island.
Trophy husband Davis Meyers (Bill Sage, veteran of several Hal Hartley films) spends his mid-weeks alone in his palatial East Hampton home while his hotshot lawyer wife, Janice (Noelle Beck), lives and works in the city.
Frustrated by his wife’s refusal to have a child, he is having an affair with a real estate broker, Hadley (Susan Misner). At her prodding, the two formulate a plan to get rid of his wife permanently, but the wrong person winds up dead.
Enter police investigator Linus (Roy Scheider), a Columbo-like, trenchcoat-wearing sleuth who not only likes to quote Schopenhauer but who also named his dog after the philosopher. The inevitable cat- and-mouse game between cop and culprit ensues.
Unable to render its familiar tropes with any freshness or wit, the film lacks the sexiness, vivid characterizations, pungent dialogue and evocative atmosphere that the genre requires. Sage fulfills his role as the handsome but slightly gone-to-seed conspirator perfectly, and Scheider goes through his paces like the canny pro he is. But the film is notable for its picturesque Hamptons locations and the brevity of its 75-minute running time.
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