'Black Rainbow: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Rosanna Arquette, Jason Robards, Tom Hulce, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1989) 2020 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: Martha Travis (Rosanna Arquette, Pulp Fiction, Crash) is a travelling clairvoyant on the road with her sceptic father (Jason Robards, Once Upon a Time in the West, Magnolia).
During a séance Martha communicates a message from a dead man to his wife in the audience. Shocked the wife insists her husband is still alive.
Later that evening the husband is killed by a ruthless assassin. As Martha foresees more and more tragic events journalist Gary Wallace (Tom Hulce, Amadeus, Animal House) follows the pair in pursuit of a hot story with catastrophically eerie results.
Blu-ray Verdict: Personally, I love films about fake psychics who suddenly discover they actually do have psychic powers!
'The Night Has a Thousand Eyes' with Edward G Robinson did it brilliantly, but this film written and directed by Mike Hodges is right up there with the best.
This film makes you appreciate Mike Hodge's talent as a storyteller, and there are layers to 'Black Rainbow' that make it doubly interesting.
Tom Hulce plays reporter Gary Wallace who stumbles across Martha Travis (Rosanna Arquette), a medium who works with her father doing a spiritualist act in South Carolina.
We are in "Elmer Gantry" territory here and although we are led to believe the act is a scam, Martha begins to have visions that come true. However the things she sees put her life in danger.
Wallace feels he is onto a big story and although he doesn't believe in her powers at first, he becomes fascinated with the enigmatic and sensuous Martha.
Without spoiling things, the film has a terrific ending that leaves you wondering. Hodges could come up with a punchy ending – remember 'Get Carter'?
A perfect cast struts their stuff including a low key Tom Hulce as the disbelieving reporter. Jason Robards goes to town on his alcoholic Walter Travis, the father who doesn't realize his daughter's powers have progressed beyond mere show business.
However Rosanna Arquette steals the show as the ethereal Martha. Rosanna Arquette always brought a sense of detachment and a certain quirkiness to her roles and often surprises you with how sexy she could be – her screen persona is hard to define.
Simply put, 'Black Rainbow' blends together a heady mixture of spiritualism, bent detectives, hit men, corrupt corporate heads and a dash of sex.
Mike Hodges captured a slice of life in South Carolina with the same assurance he caught life in the North of England in 'Get Carter'.
It's a penetrating gaze, but not a jaundiced one, he has a feeling for people and the script has touches of wit.
Brand new restoration from the original negative approved by writer-director Mike Hodges
Original stereo 2.0 PCM uncompressed audio and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround Sound options
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
New audio commentary by film historians Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan
Archival audio commentary by Mike Hodges
Message in a Bottle: Archival 'Making of' documentary
Archival interviews with Jason Robards, Tom Hulce, Rosanna Arquette
Archival featurettes '8 Minutes'; 'Disasters'; 'Seeing the Future'; 'Behind the Rainbow' featuring interviews with Hodges, Arquette, Robards, producer John Quested including behind-the-scenes imagery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Mike Hodges and more illustrated with stills
'Black Rainbow' Official Trailer