Film succeeds despite problem

Playing God (Touchstone Pictures) is one of the year’s best movies, except for a gaping hole in the plot.

The film, which “X-Files” fans have awaited for almost a year, is marred by a large flaw that could ruin the movie for some. But most audiences will let it slide due to the sincerity of the rest of the film.

David Duchovny (“X-Files”) plays Eugene, a doctor who lost his license after being caught using drugs while operating on someone. This is a new character for Duchovny, famous as an even-tempered FBI agent on TV.

Most of his work in film and TV did not bring the challenge of performing the role of the bad goodguy. But Duchovny proves himself an accomplished actor once again with his portrayal of a surgeon wrestling with the decision to practice medicine illegally.

Timothy Hutton (Beautiful Girls) does an impressive job as Raymond, a slightly imbalanced crime boss obsessed with his girlfriend, Claire (Angeline Jolie, Hackers). He encompasses the quirks a psychopath needs to be convincing without overdoing it.

Raymond’s is introduced in an amusingly uncomfortable scene. Eugene is kidnapped and brought to Raymond’s beach house. Raymond, impressed with Eugene’s abilities, shoves $2,000 into Eugene’s palm while expressing the need for a doctor to fix up his men.

Jolie does not portray Claire to her full potential. It may have been the fault of the writers or editors, but this is the major flaw in the movie. Claire and Eugene are supposed to fall in love, but that is missing from the screen.

The audience is led to believe that somewhere along the way, the two characters fall in love. But all it sees is Eugene intently curious about the young seductress, and Claire behaving rudely. Circumstance brings them together, and suddenly they are in love. Additional lines or glances on Claire’s part would make the romance much more convincing.

Setting this aside, the movie has a fast pace that leads the audience on a jarring and eye-opening ride. The music helps to hold the pace steady during the slower parts, but it does not rule the film.

This film presents a new story of mobsters. A doctor not involved in crime gives the genre of mob films a refreshing breather. Too bad Jolie’s character was not developed well, it could have been a better movie.

Playing God is now playing.

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