Synopsis by Mark Deming
Mark Frost, the writer and director best known for his work with David Lynch on the TV series Twin Peaks, made his feature film directorial debut with this convoluted thriller. Cray Fowler (James Spader) is running for congress, partly to satisfy his own political aspirations and partly to resolve certain controversies in his life; he divorced his wife after discovering that she was unfaithful, and his father committed suicide after he became involved in a scandal regarding valuable oil rights. While on the campaign trail, Fowler is persuaded to visit Lee Tran (Charlotte Lewis), a waitress he meets at a fund raiser. Fowler and Lee Tran have sex, which is caught on videotape; as if this isn't strong enough blackmail material, Lee Tran's father turns up dead in the room where Fowler wakes up. But Lee, not Fowler, is charged with the murder, and Fowler, a lawyer, agrees to defend her in court. Fowler wins the case against beautiful District Attorney Natalie Tate (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer), Fowler's former girlfriend, but now he needs to find out who is trying to set him up and for what reason; he hopes he can get some help from his uncle, Clifford Fowler (Jason Robards), a political kingmaker of the old school who knows all the family's secrets. The supporting cast includes Piper Laurie, Michael Parks, Chuck McCann, and Woody Strode.
District-Attorney, ex-wife, frame-up, lawyer, murder-trial, oil-rights, politician, suicide, uncle, waiter