OUT OF LINE. Curb Entertainment, 2001. Jennifer Beals, Holt McCallany, Michael Moriarty, Christopher Judge, Rick Ravanello, William B. Davis, Alonso Oyarzun. Screenwriter-director: Johanna Demetrakas.

   While there is more than enough criminous activity in this film to warrant my categorizing it as a Crime Film, what it really is, when it down to it, is a romance. A Pretty Woman in reverse, you might say, and I’d be even more convinced of the comparison if I’d ever seen that other film. I’ve always meant to, but it’s still on my Must See list.

   But try this on for size. When Henri Brulé aka Henry Burns (Holt McCallany) is released from prison early, his parole officer is a young but very dedicated Jenny Capitanas (Jennifer Beals). She’s the kind of supervisor who finds the hard-nosed approach her fellow officers (all male) use not her style at all, and she finds herself taking him to the opera and teaching him tai chi, or if that’s not correct it’s close enough.

   The attraction between them is obviously not in the rule book, and as in all good noir films, you know that things are not going to work out well for them, nor do they. Th crime element comes in when Henri has to work on a deal he made to another inmate while still in prison: to mess with both a smooth crime boss’s business – and his wife.

   That’s all I’ll say about that, except that it does lead to the very much expected (and explosive) fireworks at the end. To me, the value of this film lies in the (probably) doomed romance, which produces fireworks of a different kind. If it works, and I think it does, a good share of the credit goes to Jennifer Beals, who I haven’t seen in a film she she started, way back with Flashdance, way back in 1983. As an actor, she’s not only beautiful, but intelligent too. Her body language and what you see in her face are fluid and natural. You can’t ask for more. At least I can’t.

   The overall film you can call only a qualified success, at best. I saw this online one of streaming channels, and I’d like to have a DVD as a permanent copy, but it seems to have gone out of print very quickly, and used copies have become pricey.

PostScript: I’ve just watched the trailer. It’s excellent.