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Desire. Seduction. Betrayal. Every game has rules.
Cast | Classic Lines | Errors | Notes | Pictures | Quotes | Summary - Official | My Summary | My Review | Together Before
|Walter Shrenger||Malcolm McDowell|
|Jenny Travile||Rachael Leigh Cook|
|Jack Anser||Hugh Dancy|
|George Maldonaldo||Art Malik|
|Bayliss||David La Haye|
|Agnés (Gerard's Wife)||Marie-Josée Espinosa|
|Taxi Driver||Jean-Luc Borras|
|Newspaper Vendor||Stéphanie Petit|
Directed by Eric Styles
Written by L.M. Kit Carson
Or all of Malcolm's dialogue, location and time in the film.
"It's exquisite! You know, I don't know why we are all so enamored by George. His cloak and dagger drama bullshit. I told him to his face he is an old drama queen. Listen, would you be open to a private arrangement just between us? No dramas, no middle men. We both win. Oh, don't worry it's not illegal. I mean it's not a stolen piece, at least not for the last 100 years. We've had our eye on it for almost decade, right babe. We just want to be sure it has a safe uneventful journey this weekend. Munich. You come here first for payment. By the way do you and George have an exclusive arrangement? Who cares? He'll never know anyway. I can offer you half his fee, that's certainly more than you'll be paid as a courier. Who? You invited a friend here? Not on this trip. How do you do. (Laughs) Babe, I think Sarah's friend would like a drink. Well, then we'll be in touch. Come again." - at his house 8:15
"So where was I? Oh yes, Juliana. We knew her husband. Poor woman thought she'd been left a fine collection. Instead he'd left her a mountain of debt and a truckload of crap except for the piece in question that my wife covets. One hates to see a woman alone in desperate straights." - at his house 12:45
"Hello, Sarah? Oui? You didn't take your assistant did you? Good, yeah. I just don't want any complications." - on the phone 13:45
"Is she coming this way?" - train station 33:00
"So much needless pain...for everyone." - voiceover in his car 1:17:54
When Jack takes Jenny to the country to see his "restaurant" she has to be helped down from a concrete ledge. Her shirt goes up in the back and you can see the wireless microphone tucked into her pants.
When Jack and Jenny have their late night sexcapade in the jewelry store he picks her up facing him and she wraps her arms around him and kisses him. He puts her up against the wall and in the next shot he is against the wall and is no longer carrying her.
Tempo is defined as 1. (noun) (music) the speed at which a composition is to be played 2. (noun) the rate of some repeating event.
Began filming in late February 2002 in Luxemburg and Paris. Post production work done in Canada, UK and Los Angeles.
Was to be released to theaters, but suffered a direct to video fate instead.
Rated R, released by Universal. 83 minutes. Digitally recorded, stereo surround, closed captioned. DVD #22283, VHS 2-pack #61463, VHS/DVD Combo pack #61464
DVD release was scheduled for June 17, 2003, but was inexplicably pushed back. Screeners were released though.
Trailered on The Life of David Gale, Deliver Us from Eva + The Guru. "A sexy thriller in the tradition of Wild Things."
DVD was finally released on July 13, 2004.
Movie - in order of appearance
Walter opening his package from Sarah
Walter making a private offer
Walter making the final arrangements for the coin
Walter calling Sarah on the phone
Walter at the train station waiting for Sarah
Walter watching the destruction at the end from his car
DVD Screener Cover - Front
DVD Screener Cover - Back
"I had a terrific time on the set and especially enjoyed working with Hugh - my partner in crime." - Melanie Griffith
The story centers on an American girl (Cook), who moves to Paris and goes to work in a jewelry store. There she gets involved with a couple (Griffith and Dancy) who are planning to rob the store. But when Cook's character becomes involved with Dancy's, she's soon a danger to the scheming duo's operation and their love life.
Jack is driving a car at a high speed with
Sarah and Jenny in the back. He is driving this way because the police are
chasing him. Soon the police are shooting at them and Jack is yelling to the
women to see if they are hit.
Everything happens so fast - there are many quick flashbacks. Then it cuts to eight days earlier.
Day 1 - Jack is cooking food in his apartment with Sarah who is 20 years older than he is. He tells her it'll be ready in five minutes. She has no pants on, just a shirt and says she doesn't want to wait. Instead she hops up on the counter and starts kissing him. They wind up making love on the couch leaving the food completely forgotten. After the finished they eat from the couch and the phone rings. The man is testy with Jack and Jack doesn't like him either calling him her monster. The man on the phone is George, her boss - an antique smuggler, and he tells her to come by the next day for a pickup.
Day 2 - Jack takes her to George's place and waits for her in the parking garage. George comes onto her a bit in a twisted way. He tells her when Jack leaves her for someone of child bearing age they should go traveling. He isn't interested in romance, just a traveling companion. She tells him Jack isn't interested in children. He then offers her a job to Belgium, but she tells him she and Jack are going away to Meyorka. He says no one does that anymore. She goes down to the car and wishes she was rid of him.
Sarah goes over to Walter's place to give him the erotic art piece she picked up from George. Walter is a great collector of art and we learn Sarah is a runner for George. She smuggling the pieces across the borders it saves on taxes and paperwork. Walter says there is a piece his wife really wants and he wants to work out a private deal between them, leaving George out, because he is a drama queen and full of crap. It is completely legal and they have had their eye on it for ten years. The item is in Munich where a man has died and left a load of crap and bills to his wife and the great item in question. By offering her half or George's rate, they both save money. She agrees. Jack then comes up from the car and tries to be friendly. Sarah explains that they are partners. Walter wants only her - no loose ends. Jack is impressed with the place. Walter offers Jack a drink, but Sarah tells them they must be going. Walter tells her to come back for the money tomorrow.
Downstairs in the car Jack is upset that she hustled them out. Why couldn't they have stayed for drinks? She tells him Walter doesn't like him and wouldn't be interested in investing in his restaurant. She doesn't understand why he would want to drink with him. He says it was embarrassing. She then apologizes to him.
Day 3 - Sarah tells Jack she has to go to Munich without him. Jack isn't happy about it. She tells him it is OK and they can go to Spain when they come back. The next day Sarah goes to Walter and he gives her the money and the arrangements. She is to pick up the item and come directly back. No stops of any kind.
Day 4 - She flies in and as soon as she lands Walter is on the phone checking on her. He wants to make sure she is alone. She is. Meanwhile Jack is out on the town and hears a beautiful young girl is having trouble with a newspaper vendor. She thinks she got ripped off when buying a magazine, giving him 20 francs and not getting enough change. Jack talks to the vendor because he is American and speaks French. He counts her coins and finds out she did get the right change. She is totally embarrassed. She is from New York and is in the country for a few months and doesn't know anyone. He tells her is from LA. She invites him to have coffee, but refuses by saying he is waiting for a call. Then changes his mind saying he has an hour. She is meeting her boss for coffee and she invites him along, but again he refuses. He watches where she goes though.
Sarah meets the old woman, Juliana, whom she is making the buy from. The woman is interested in Sarah's life, but Sarah doesn't want to give much details. Juliana tells her she needs to the money to survive. Sarah likes the woman though. They make the transaction and then leaves.
Jack hangs around and waits until the girl comes out of the coffee shop. He acts like it was just a coincidence that he was there and meets her boss and then finds out the girls' name is Jenny. The woman is a friend of her mother. He takes her to a market and then asks her why she came to Paris. She tells him she was flunking out of school and hacked into the computer and changed her grades and got caught. Her parents decided to send her to France. She asks what he does and he tells her he is in the transport business.
Meanwhile Sarah is calling Jack at home looking for him. She opens the package to see the item and learns it is a large ancient coin. Also someone is following Juliana home. When she gets in the door a man shoots her in the head. Sarah calls Walter to tell him she has gotten the item and asks Walter how the old woman's husband died. He says the man shot himself and tells her to have a safe journey.
Jack and Jenny are still together and she walks him to Arcand, the jewelry store where she is going to work. She tells him to stop by sometime. Lisette and her husband are the owners and show Jenny the ropes of the store. There is a gun in the desk and a vault of fake jewelry. They switch the fakes with the real ones every night in the window to entice the customers. Jack showers and then calls Jenny for a dinner date. She agrees and is glad to see him.
He drives her out to the country for a surprise. She questions him about his work again and he says it is so boring she would throw herself out of the car if he told her. She realizes he is into something illegal, but laughs about it, not caring. He takes her to a farm and then a specific barn and she is a bit worried, but he says to trust him. He explains he is going to buy it and turn it into a restaurant. It has tons of room and two floors. He says it'll be the best of French and American cooking and can't fail, he just needs the money. He then shows her the kitchen and the huge Zanusi oven that can cook for 30-40 people. She wants to know how he ended up in France. He tells her he is a car nut and was able to get a very rare care, one of only three, and deliver it to a buyer in France and has stayed ever since.
Meanwhile George leaves a message on Sarah's machine looking for her. He then realizes she is off screwing, which will not sound good to Jack. Sarah then gets on the train that night and lays down to sleep with the coin firmly clenched in her hands. While she sleeps someone tries to take it from her, but she wakes up. The man smashes her in the face and takes it anyway.
Jack and Jenny are sitting around a fire talking. He tells her schools are useless and you learn more by just doing things. He takes her home and she invites him up, but he declines. She asks if he is involved with anyone and he says no. She then jumps over and kisses him passionately. He is a bit stunned. He goes home and listens to the messages on the machine. When he hears George's message he thinks Sarah is cheating on him.
Day 5 - Sarah gets off the train and goes up the stairs to find Walter and is wife Kumiko waiting for her. Instead of facing them she takes off. They notice her though and a man begins to chase her. She runs out of the station and across the street and the man gets hit by a car. She calls Jack at home, but he has left to see Jenny at the jewelry store. She treats him like a regular customer and shows him two fish shaped pieces and tells him the story of them. It is about a mermaid and a man who loves her. He thinks she wants him to buy them for her, but she just liked the story. He invites her to dinner at his house and he will cook. She gladly accepts.
Jenny comes in and notices the place has a woman's touch. He tells her that he has a roommate that is a women that he has known for a few years. Meanwhile Sarah is trying to rent a car and George calls. He tells her he has to see her and a man pulls up in a car and he tells her to get in.
Before they can eat, Jenny is so impressed by him that she gets turned on and starts to kiss and undress Jack. She takes his shirt off, but gets embarrassed when she can't get his pants open. He wonders if she is a virgin. They head off to the bedroom. Meanwhile at George's place he returns to her the coin that was stolen. He was completely on to her plans. He wants $80,000 for it. She says Walter already paid for it once and won't again. This means she'll have to come up with the money herself. He throws her against the wall and gives her a warning by biting her hard on the shoulder.
After sex Jenny goes into Sarah's bathroom to wash up and when she comes out Sarah is standing there. Jenny sees the look on her face and knows Jack was lying. Sarah goes along with Jack's lie by saying they are roommates, but Jenny is upset about it and runs out. Jack wants to know if Sarah was cheating on him. Sarah wants to know what he wants.
Day 6 - Jack tracks Jenny down in a mall to explain himself. He apologizes and tells her there was no lying, but he couldn't walk away from her when he saw her. He tells her he is going to leave Sarah, that they don't have a normal relationship. Jenny smacks him and then breaks down, telling him how much she hates him while he holds her.
Sarah goes to see her ex husband Gerard on his daughter's birthday unannounced. He knows it is bad news and she asks him to loan her the money. He wants to know why he should give her anything. She breaks down and he wants her to leave. She then sees a picture of their son and it makes it even worse. She leaves and George calls her to tell her Walter wants his coin and she only has two days to come up with the money.
Jack takes Jenny out to dinner and she is upset because she thinks she was a such fool for believing in love at first sight. Jack tells her she wasn't wrong. This makes her hopeful and they start to get back together. Next we see them in a tub together in her apartment and she tells him he think she is crazy, but she loves him. He says nothing. Meanwhile Sarah sleeps alone.
Day 7 - Jenny asks Jack what he will do. He says he'll look for a place to live, get his stuff. He suddenly gets mad because there is no coffee. Jack explains that when he arrived in France he had nothing and Sarah took him in. One night they had sex and that it just happened and it was like she owned him. Jenny says he can stay with her now. He isn't sure what to do.
Sarah invited her son Paul over because she wanted to see him. He doesn't believe it and knows she is lying and in need of money. She doesn't ask for money, but he doesn't want to hear of it. Jack walks in while this is going on and gets jealous. Paul is disgusted with him and they start to fight. Paul leaves and she tells Jack that he was her son. She goes on the couch and cries and he admits he didn't see that coming about her son. He sees the bruise on her and she confesses the whole story about the coin. He feels bad for her and they are back to having sex. After sex he tries to figure out something to get the money she needs, but she has nothing. Even the apartment is owned by George. Sarah asks about Jenny and he says it is complicated and they've only been together three days so he couldn't love her. She asks him then to come up with a plan to rob the jewelry store. He objects, but she says Jenny won't get hurt since she just works there.
Back at Jenny's place she surprises him by buying a coffee pot and having keys made for him. He decides to take her out to eat and they don't make it too far before they start kissing near her job. She sees him eying the place and realizes she has night privileges. They run over and he watches her use her code on the alarm panel. They then have sex on the floor without removing much clothes and afterwards she shows him the secret spot where the real jewelry is hidden because the fake stuff is in the window. He acts all surprised.
They go back to her place and she wakes up in the middle of the night and finds him gone. She hears him on the phone in the next room checking on Sarah and saying everything is OK and he'll take care of it while Jenny is at work tomorrow. Jenny knows she has been used.
The next morning she tries to sneak out, but he sees her and volunteers to make coffee. She tells him to go back to sleep. Instead of going to work she follows him back to Sarah's. He makes plans to rob the store that night. She says they should keep enough for them to run away. He says that he should stay and she should leave. He admits not being able to give Jenny up. Sarah tells him he'll be the number one suspect because Jenny knows he saw the codes.
That night Jenny is left to close up the store. Jack watches and waits and steals a getaway car and goes to pick Sarah up. They have easy access and pour all the hidden jewelry into bags. Before they can finish though, Jenny returns. She sees what has happened and knows Jack is there. She wants to know if Jack planned this from the beginning. He tells her no, but she realizes she was an idiot. He tells her the insurance will cover it and he needed the money so Sarah wouldn't get killed. She goes for the gun in the desk drawer, but Sarah already has it and points it her. It is too late because Jenny has pushed the panic button.
Sarah takes Jenny as a hostage, but it doesn't slow down the three cops in hot pursuit. This is the chase we saw when the movie started. Jenny and Sarah are in the back seat as Jack speeds away. Jenny begs him to stop, but it is too late now. After many high speed twists and turns the cops start shooting and blow out the back window. Sarah starts shooting back and hits the lead car and it loses control and hits a parked car. The two following cop cars plow into and they all explode into a fireball of flames. Jack pulls under an overpass and all three of them go their separate disgusted ways. Jack then goes to Sarah first and gets the gun. Sarah is crying and tells him she has to choose between them. He goes over to the water and tosses the gun into it near where Jenny is. He tries to touch her, but she won't let him. He apologizes and she tells him it was all for nothing, but he leaves her not realizing what she meant was that the jewels they stole were fake.
Jenny goes to work the next day and pretends she doesn't know what happened. When she gets there the cops are all over the place. She gets in and finds out the shop has been robbed. Meanwhile Jack and Sarah meet with George and his men in an abandoned rail yard and give him the jewels. Walter and his men are also there waiting for the coin. Walter's men come for the coin and George tells Walter to come and get it himself. He checks out the jewels and finds out they are fake and screams the deal is off. Walter's man then kills all of George's as Walter and his wife watch from a nearby car. Jack and Sarah try to leave, but they are followed and killed as well.
Back at the store the police detective tells the women it had to be an inside job. The thieves knew all the secrets. He asks if anyone knew the jewels were switched besides them. Lisette tells him only her husband and no one else. Jenny then "remembers" that she forgot to switch the fakes with the real ones. The bodies are shown, fingerprints are dusted and Jenny leaves the store alone in her thoughts while police lights shine off her skin and super quick flashbacks go by. The End
I included the definition of
"Tempo" in the notes above because the title makes absolutely no sense
to me. The word is almost exclusively used to mean to set a musical pace. This
film has nothing to do with music. It starts, then quickly jumps back eight days
and advances one day at a time. Is that the tempo? Who cares. So when a film has
a bad title, that is a BAD sign.
I also wonder who the intended audience for this film is. It says it is a sexy thriller, but it is neither sexy or thrilling. Melanie was only 45 when she made this, but looks 60. She looks that bad with her oversized lips and she has a whiny little girl voice too. I was cringing when they were starting to go into a sex scene with her, thankfully she only went down to underwear, though it would be hard to complete the act that way. If they were trying to make her look bad, then they succeeded. She was pale and gaunt throughout and even when they dolled her up for her scene with her son it didn't work. It is impossible to believe a young stud would fall in love with her. I think the only people this film would appeal to is someone who wants to see women crying because this is just about all Melanie does through the last two-thirds of the film.
Tempo was supposed to be released to theaters, but that was cancelled. Then it was supposed to be released direct to video in June, but that was scrapped too. The reason must be because the film is so bad. The two young leads are very popular to their opposite sex. Rachel Leigh Cook has a big male fan base and gained major attention after she did Josie and the Pussycats, but here her supposed sexuality is so forced and she has put on a few pounds as well. You can't recognize her from her Josie role. She barely shows any skin and during the romp in the jewelry store she has a jacket, sports bra AND a bra on!? Maybe they are trying to recut the movie with a bit of nudity to get people interested? In fact the movie is so tame that it plays more like a made for TV movie than a theatrical one. If they cut out some of the cursing it could easily be PG material.
As for the plot this film just can't decide what it wants to be. Is it a long music video? No, there really isn't any music. Is it a film about jewel thieves and smugglers? No, it is only glossed over and no real interesting details are gone into for that field. Is it about a love triangle? No, because no one seems to really know or care about what they want. Jenny thinks she loves Jack, but she has only known him for a couple days and she said she hated him so much earlier that day. Jack says he doesn't care about Sarah and thinks she owns him, but later he says he loves her. Is there no plot just to showcase hot softcore sexual scenes? No, because the sex scenes are not hot at all. I guess we are supposed to believe people can have sex fully clothed.
For my rating I give one point to how it was shot. It had a very slick feel and lots of great daytime and nighttime shots of Paris. While this would be great for a documentary, it doesn't help much here. There was an also an interesting cut technique they did. Instead of wipes or fade to black there would be some time lapse photography of Parisian locales. Then the exaggerated the lights on the cars and addition of sparkling and crackling sound effects.
Of course the other point goes to Malcolm who first appears eight minutes into the film. It goes without saying he didn't have enough scenes. He only had five - the first meeting with Sarah, the second meeting, a phone call, in the railroad station (but only showed from the back) and at the end (where he doesn't say anything except for a one line voice over.) He played the role very well for the time he was given. Basically he was a hardcore art collector who was willing to stop at nothing to get a piece he wanted, but he wasn't crazy. He was distinguished and calm about it all. In the end he got the best of everyone getting the item he wanted and getting rid of all the people who screwed him or tried to. It would've been much more interesting to go into his and Sarah's background together a bit more. Who was Walter after all? If he commanded so much wealth and power why did he need George and Sarah to do his dirty work? The ending was also flat since we had known since the beginning about the chase and the diamonds were fake. I guess we are supposed to feel sorry for some dumb girl who fell in love with a guy after two days? Try again.
There is no way I can even dream of recommending this film. The three main characters are pretty wooden and the plot doesn't exist. It seems the director was more interesting in capturing the look and feel of Paris than making a good movie. I can't define a genre for it and I can't find any appeal. I can only hope that the huge delay in releasing it means some people got a hold of Universal and asked them what the hell it was and they either shelved it or heavily edited it.
1994 - Malcolm and Melanie Griffith were in Milk Money.
Images © 2002 Universal
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