by Brent Powers
In the movie the guy comes into his home theater looking all hopeful, scans his shelves of tapes and laserdiscs and DVDs, selects an oldy from the VHS section and settles down to some good stuff. He pours out a snifter of cognac, hits the lights and starts the show. Look at his expression now. Open, innocent almost, the kid he was at the matinee. He hums along to the Main Title music, says ahhh! when the star comes on, trudging up a rainy street, looking entirely hopeless when she sees --

But something's bothering him. There's something going on with his expression. The wrong kind of thoughts are coming. It would be described as a shadow crossing his face, perhaps... but he sort of bears down on it, makes a death mask of his former expression in order to hold it. You can see he's trying to feel a certain way, only it's just not going very well. What's the problem here? Is it some crap outside the screening room, in the den, perhaps? A chalk outline, a yellow tape? Ah. Maybe his wife getting into some shit with her friends. He'd heard her on the phone when he came in, heard that tone she gets.

In the movie, though, he doesn't have a wife. What's he talking about? He sips some cognac, then drinks more deeply. Lights up a butt. No. He doesn't smoke. He hasn't smoked in twenty years. But he does take that drink. Enough that he has to pour out another. In the movie the woman is standing in a doorway, looking at a man in the usual hat and raincoat. You can't see his face, of course (who is he?); you can only see her expression, which tells you that she is both afraid and in love. The music has a lot to say about that. The music is telling you all about it, but most people are not listening. They don't realise they are being told what to feel, what to think, who to be. Because it's all about identification. You are the woman or the man ... but you have very little choice in the matter as to which one. The music is telling you. The light, the rain, the sound of the rain, the way the camera is positioned so that all you see of the man is his shoulder, an upturned collar, the brim of his hat, from behind, then the woman's face looking slightly upwards into his. Shouldn't they be kissing by now? Isn't it here that they kiss? He's getting agitated. He knows this movie. He's seen this movie countless times. Seen it over and over again since he was a kid. What's wrong? Did he get a different version, a TV cut? He doesn't know all the shit he has, who bothers to catalog, he just files them alphabetically, not even that, and tells himself that someday he's gonna make a folder and list ... the fuck ... he'll do nothing of the sort. His wife will do it. What's she talking about, anyway? What's so goddamned important? He can hear her through the sound-proofing. She's shouting, then laughing that strident laugh of hers, it goes all over the house like a dinosaur effect. Perhaps if he ran in there and told her to shut up, to stop talking to that idiot. It's Philip. Philip Rudra, who is a fool. They're dry humping over the phone and it's disgusting. The chalk marks on the rug, the crime scene tape. That's what it's for. Homicide that will happen later in the film. When he kills his wife and makes it look like Philip did it. Then the fat head will get some dry humping!