Coming between his breakthrough success (Melvin and Howard) and his most unfortunate filmmaking experience (Swing Shift) Jonathan Demme's Who am I This Time? is a lovely little interlude in his career. The conceit, that an amateur actor finds courage only while in character, would, in other hands, seem strained, but Demme and his fine cast, led by Christopher Walken as Harry Nash, pull it off. Walken is free to give rein to the extremes of his acting repertoire, the low-key oddball (The Dead Zone) and the dangerously psychotic brute (King of New York). The entry point to Harry's split personality is Helene Shaw (Susan Sarandon), the new player in the small-town theatrical company who learns only belatedly that the brawling Stanley Kowalski she's up against on stage is a timid hardware store clerk off stage. The hour-long format works perfectly to keep the joke from being stretched too far. This joins Slaughterhouse Five and Mother Night as the best adaptations of Kurt Vonnegut's fiction.
by Tom Wiener review