Borderline (2002)

South Africa pretends to be the US in this okay little DTV/cable noir. Too few films have been built around Gina Gershon, who pitches fair to be the Mimi Rogers of the new millennium. Here, she's a shrink working in a correctional facility who has a bunch of problems - mostly, her nasty soon-to-be-ex is winning a custody hearing and taking away her two little girls because he paints her in court as an unstable workaholic who mixes with psychopaths. The husband and his trophy fiancee are murdered by an intruder who protects the girls, and Gershon inherits a bundle of cash. She seems liable to take a fall for the murder, especially when physical evidence turns up, but the investigating cop (Michael Biehn) happens to be her secret boyfriend. It all turns on a relationship between shrink and a just-released patient (Sean Patrick Flannery) who is either an obsessive stalker with a canny streak framing the love object who rejected him or a manipulated loser who has been shaped into a murder weapon.

The plot is a working definition of unlikely, with Biehn stuck with the most unbelievable turns, but Gershon gets an interesting workout as the ambiguous heroine, seen as both a strained working mom and a seducctress in a red nightie. The ending leaves a chink open to interpret the heroine as a covert villain. As with many runaway productions, it suffers from no-name supporting actors who are so intent on their accents that they never deliver more than competent work.

First published in this form here.

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