Ever since the glorious days of VHS rental stores on every corner I have been a huge fan of Michael Biehn. (Which reminds me, someone really has to put the film Timebomb on Blu-ray or at least DVD.) He is a reliable, entertaining and versatile actor that can always be counted on for a solid performance in a wide array of roles. Most of them go unappreciated as well (see William Friedkin’s Rampage). His latest effort, Saving Grace B. Jones, really grabbed my attention with an interesting storyline and the addition of Tatum O’Neal and Penelope Miller to the cast. To top it all off the film is written, produced and directed by TV veteran Connie Stevens.
Landy Bretthorst (Biehn) and his wife Bea (Miller) are a well-respected couple living in a small Missouri town in the mid-50s. But Landy’s family has a dark past that is coming home as his sister Grace (O’Neal) is released from a local asylum to come and join the Bretthorst household. The whole town is aware of Grace’s past but no one could expect how her return was to affect all their lives.
The story of Saving Grace B. Jones is a good one. It is haunting, compelling and unique. The performances by Biehn, Jones and O’Neil are all excellent as well. The major problem I had with this film is it really feels like you are watching a rough cut of it. The editing is off, the picture quality fluctuates, the sound is inconsistent and the script feels like it needed a few more rounds of editing. There is so much potential in this film it really ended up being disheartening. I think the blame really must land on Stevens as this feels like low budget TV through and through. The actors, God bless them, do the very best they can with what they have, but it is not enough to save the production as a whole. The low budget glares through the whole movie and is horribly distracting, and that really is too bad. This one could have been a real gem.
Available now on DVD.