|THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (TWINKLE, TWINKLE 'KILLER' KANE) (director/writer: William Peter Blatty; screenwriter: from the novel by William Peter Blatty; cinematographer: Gerry Fisher; editors: T. Battle Davis/Peter Lee-Thompson/Roberto Silvi; music: Barry DeVorzon; cast: Stacy Keach (Colonel Kane), Scott Wilson (Captain Cutshaw), Jason Miller (Lieutenant Reno), Neville Brand (Maj. Marvin Groper), Moses Gunn (Major Nammack), Robert Loggia (Lieutenant Bennish), George DeCenzo (Captain Fairbanks), Joe Spinell (Lt. Spinell), Ed Flanders (Colonel Fell), Steve Sandor (Stanley), Tom Atkins (Sergeant Krebs); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: R; producer: William Peter Blatty; Starmaker ( United Film Distribution Company); 1980)|
by Dennis Schwartz
Peter Blatty ("The Exorcist III"),
in his debut as a director, writes the unique
surreal screenplay from his own existential 1971
novel. It's an obtuse thriller, which is mystifying
though thoroughly enjoyable. It goes over a
mine field littered with religious allegory and offers
a fair amount of portentousness before landing
somewhere in the other world. The psychological
thriller veers between being rapturous and
bewildering. It's considered by many critics as a
classic cult film, despite its flaws.
secluded New England castle, converted into a top
secret psychiatric institution for military officers,
Marine Colonel Kane (Stacey Keach) is the new man in
charge of treating the mentally disturbed
personnel--mostly Nam vets. Kane must decide if the
patients have real problems or are shirkers. His most
prized patient is Captain Cutshaw (Scott
Wilson), an astronaut who is
treated by Kane after he had a nervous breakdown
just as his space capsule was going to the moon
and refused to go. The shrink, hiding a dark secret
about a violent twin brother, provides radical
puzzling film turns out to be about Post-Vietnam
Stress Disorder, a term coined after the book and
movie. It's also about the shock that the bad
war brought to the country, as the psychological world
can't figure out why suddenly there's such a rise in
insanity throughout the military service community.
The pic is written from a theological view, as it
searches for answers if God exists and wonders how
there's any goodness in a world gone stark raving mad.
public, the studio and many critics were confused
about what Blatty was trying to say, and the film
never got the praise I believe it deserved.
REVIEWED ON 2/6/2015 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ