Posted: 06/07/2003

 

Second Nature

(2003)

by Del Harvey



Alec Baldwin stars in this psychological thriller about one man’s struggle to uncover his true identity, premiering on TNT Sunday, June 22 at 8pm (ET/PT).


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When Paul Kane (Alec Baldwin) awakens from a coma with vague memories of his past, including the airplane accident that killed his wife and two daughters, his instinct is to find out what happened. But Paul is a suave, patient man. He does not panic, he does not lose control. Instead, he methodically sets about examining the facts he knows and the murky remembrances which appear to be his past. Somewhere in these lies the truth.

Working with the help of a psychiatrist (Louise Lombard), Kane attempts to reconstruct his memories and return to some semblance of his life. Soon, Kane is able to remember his career as an American government agent based in London, working under Kelton Reed (Powers Boothe). But after recovering from his physical injuries and returning to work, Kane discovers that he can no longer carry out his duties and begins to make alarming discoveries that lead him to unlock memories of his shocking past and to question everything - including the motives of everyone around him and his own identity.
Kane is skillfully played with controlled tension by Alec Baldwin (Pearl Harbor, Glengarry Glen Ross, Thick As Thieves). Baldwin is one of our finest actors, and it is high time he got back into the game. Second Nature would be a fine launch for someone of his caliber and ability. I sincerely hope this proves to be the beginning of a much more visible series of portrayals from such a talented performer.

Powers Boothe (Men of Honor, Wyatt Earp, Red Dawn, HBO’s Philip Marlowe - Private Eye) has been turning in excellent character portrayals since the 70’s. His darkly handsome looks are perfect for the Kelton Reed character, who is obviously a refined individual of some influence and power. He is not only a great villain, but is probably one of the best around today. In some ways he reminds me of Vincent Price for his finesse combined with a certain smarminess which makes your skin crawl. Like his on-the-mark performance as Philip Marlowe in the great HBO series of the early 80’s, his interpretation of Reed keeps you on your toes and riveted to the screen in anticipation.

Louise Lombard is a good counter for both the slithering Reed and the confused but committed to finding the truth Kane. She brings a certain grounding to the whole proceedings as one of two outside characters whose down-to-Earth lifestyle puts Kane’s confused past into a clarity it might not otherwise possess. Having performed in a number of British television shows (French and Saunders, Bergerac) prior to Second Nature, her most recognizable role to American audiences may be in the Russell Mulcahy film Tale of the Mummy, which was released shortly before the similarly named Brendan Fraser hit. Ms. Lombard is not only attractive, but proves an agile foil to Reed and a fine support to Kane.

The other grounded character is Philip Jackson as an insurance investigator who appears shortly following Kane’s airplane accident and turns out to be one of the few people he can trust. Jackson’s character loves a good mystery as much as the next person and soon is drawn in as a sort of sidekick to help dig up information for Kane as he works his way through the maze of the past. A veteran of British television, Jackson’s many roles include Little Voice, Cousin Bette, and Evil Under The Sun.

Emmy® and Golden Globe-nominated actor Alec Baldwin stars in and executive-produces the Turner Network Television (TNT) Original film Second Nature. Powers Boothe, Louise Lombard and Philip Jackson also star. Granada Entertainment USA, El Dorado Pictures and Carlton America co-produce the two-hour film with TNT. Granada’s Antony Root serves as executive producer, along with Baldwin and his producing partner, Jon Cornick. British helmer Ben Bolt directs from a script by E. Max Frye and Steve Griffiths.
Second Nature premieres on TNT Sunday, June 22, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).
Encores as noted below (all times ET/PT)
Sunday, June 22, 2003, at 10 p.m.
Sunday, June 22, 2003, at 12 a.m.
Wednesday, June 25, at 9 p.m.
Wednesday, June 25, at 11 p.m.
Saturday, June 28, at 1 p.m.
Sunday, June 29, at 9 a.m.
Sunday, June 29, at 12 a.m.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.



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