Amanda Donohoe

Paper Mask (1990, Christopher Morahan)

Until the third act, when it painfully changes course, Paper Mask is excellent. Hospital employee—it’s never clear his exact position—Paul McGann assumes the identity of his ex-girlfriend’s dead doctor boyfriend and heads off to practice medicine. The events don’t unfold as simply as that sentence suggests, but the process McGann goes through is what makes so much of Paper Mask excellent.

McGann’s performance (until the third act, when it becomes clear the film isn’t happy with the character’s arc unfolding naturally) is outstanding. It helps he has Amanda Donohoe as a love interest. Donohoe’s excellent in the film, grounding it. She disappears briefly and the whole thing falls apart.

What starts as a somewhat genre-less film—it’s got comedy, drama, mystery—ends as a completely traditional thriller. Well, maybe not completely traditional, but far more in common with the dangerous impersonator thriller than it should.

If I’ve given anything away, I can’t quite apologize because the film ends so pointlessly, there’s not really much reason to watch it as a drama. The acting is excellent and is worth a look (especially for Donohoe, who I think went on to Sci-Fi Channel movies).

Also, director Morahan is outstanding. He manages to keep the filmmaking quality high until the very last shot, which is when Richard Harvey’s otherwise good score sputters out too.

Great supporting turns from Barbara Leigh-Hunt and Frederick Treves… and a mediocre one from Tom Wilkinson.

Paper Mask is competent, but fatally unimaginative.



Produced and directed by Christopher Morahan; screenplay by John Collee, based on his novel; director of photography, Nat Crosby; edited by Peter Coulson; music by Richard Harvey; production designer, Caroline Hanania; released by Enterprise Pictures Limited.

Starring Paul McGann (Matthew Harris), Amanda Donohoe (Christine Taylor), Frederick Treves (Dr. Mumford), Tom Wilkinson (Dr. Thorn), Barbara Leigh-Hunt (Celia Mumford), Jimmy Yuill (Alec Moran), Mark Lewis Jones (Dr. Lloyd), John Warnaby (Dr. Hammond), Alexandra Mathie (Beverley) and Oliver Ford Davies (Coroner).

One Night Stand (1997, Mike Figgis)

One Night Stand is such an emotionally exhausting film, one of the few moments of relief comes when Wesley Snipes, Ming-Na (as his wife), Nastassja Kinski (she and Snipes had a one night affair) and Kyle MacLachlan (as Kinski’s husband) go out to dinner together. It’s awkward in a far more comfortable way than the rest of the film, which takes its time getting there, but eventually reveals itself to be about the unraveling of Snipes.

Now, Wesley Snipes is often laughably terrible, which makes his performance here a shock. It’s one of the finer male lead performances. Figgis’s film feels like a novel, as it deals with Snipes’s heterosexuality, his marriage, his self-loathing over his homophobia and his career. Everything centers around Robert Downey Jr. as his best friend (the film opens with Snipes introducing the story, talking to the camera). Downey’s a gay guy dying of AIDS and it all sort of swirls around the life Snipes left in New York to sell out and go to LA. Of course, those events happened before the present action… which is not to discount the importance of the dalliance with Kinski and so on….

It’s all connected, but Downey and Snipes’s partnership is the focal point.

Downey’s great, though he sort of has the easiest role, something he mentions in dialogue. Ming-Na’s good, MacLachlan’s fantastic. Great small turn from Thomas Haden Church.

Figgis (who also scores) does an amazing job directing. It’s an astounding piece of work.



Written and directed by Mike Figgis; director of photography, Declan Quinn; edited by John Smith; music by Figgis; Waldemar Kalinowski; produced by Figgis, Ben Myron and Annie Stewart; released by New Line Cinema.

Starring Wesley Snipes (Max), Nastassja Kinski (Karen), Kyle MacLachlan (Vernon), Ming-Na (Mimi), Robert Downey Jr. (Charlie), Glenn Plummer (George), Amanda Donohoe (Margaux), Zoë Nathenson (Mickey) and Thomas Haden Church (Don).

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008, Edward Neumeier)

I love this movie. Seriously. Not just because it features the most idiotically jingoistic song since Grease 2‘s “Do It For Our Country.” There’s a fair amount of political commentary (instead of going for the easy Bush jugular, Neumeier’s a lot more complicated, particularly when it comes to how religion is sellable as war propaganda) and a lot of good acting.

However, I hate Neumeier a little for wasting the finest performance Casper Van Dien is, likely, ever going to give. The movie follows Jolene Blalock (who’s awful at the start, but then turns good when the film enters its second act–Marauder‘s so shockingly well-plotted, I can’t believe they didn’t give it a limited theatrical… it’s an actual sequel to Starship Troopers, not a direct-to-video continuation) at the expense of Van Dien and it’s not right. Sure, Blalock’s got a romance with Boris Kodjoe (also way too good considering) and a personal discovery storyline, but Van Dien’s actually really good. It’s a tragedy his… yes, I’m going to say it… ability is wasted.

Unfortunately, besides those three–and Stephen Hogan, who’s fantastic–the supporting cast is pretty weak. At times, with the reasonable CG and the competent if unspectacular direction and good script, it feels like Marauder is a “real” movie… until the supporting cast speaks. Marnette Patterson and Cécile Breccia are both, sadly, laughable. I just wish they’d been able to get solider actors.

But again, I love this movie. It’s an unbelievable success.



Directed by Edward Neumeier; screenplay by Neumeier, based on a novel by Robert A. Heinlein; director of photography, Lorenzo Senatore; edited by Michael John Bateman; music by Klaus Badelt; production designer, Sylvain Gingras; produced by David Lancaster; released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Starring Casper Van Dien (Colonel Johnny Rico), Jolene Blalock (Captain Lola Beck), Stephen Hogan (Sky Marshal Omar Anoke), Boris Kodjoe (Gen. Dix Hauser), Amanda Donohoe (Admiral Enolo Phid), Marnette Patterson (Holly Little), Danny Keogh (Dr. Wiggs), Stelio Savante (Chief Bull Brittles), Cécile Breccia (Lt. Link Manion) and Garth Breytenbach (Pvt. Slug Skinner).

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