Spoiler (1997)

It's the future and it 's noir,  like the 1940s filtered through The Matrix, with a dash of 1984.  Criminals do time in  suspended animation instead of jail cells.  The criminals donít age but their loved ones do. 

Gary Daniels stars as a wrongly-convicted prisoner who becomes a notorious "spoiler," or escapee, out of a desperate desire to see  his cute little daughter again.  Every time heís rearrested  she ages some more.  By the time he finally catches up with her, she's an old woman on her deathbed.

James Booth is the judge who  sentences Daniels to suspended animation, heartlessly ignoring  his pleas to see his daughter one last time.  Booth plays him as a nasty old queen with blackened eyebrows and a white powdered wig.  His best scene is a phone conversation  with some unspecified other person while he believes himself to be alone. "As if I could give a shit, dear," he  says quietly, swiveling around in his executive chair.  "How is it that your problems always become my problems again?  They don't, that's just it.  Stop whining and take it like a man, if that's possible."  Abruptly he glances into a hand-held mirror and deftly snips a nose-hair.   

Suddenly Daniels drops down from the ceiling  and attacks Booth.  Next thing we know, Jimmy's on his back on the desk, stripped to his underwear and bound at the wrists and ankles.  Daniels is putting on the judge's robes.  "You'll never see the light of day again," Booth snarls.  "Objection overruled!" Daniels  replies.

Spoiler is visually very stylish in a dark, pulpy way.  It does a lot with a little and has a fine sense of gallows humor.  (In the future, tobacco is outlawed and everybody smokes.)  The themes of mortality and totalitarianism come across without too much pretentiousness and the  sad ending  has a certain realistic inevitability.  

Text copyright Diana Blackwell, 2004.