Story: In the wake of a brutal murder, justice could hinge on the one eye witness who saw the killer leaving the scene of the crime. In situations like this, a description can make all the difference and to that end, Detective Whitfield (Jeff Fahey) has been called in. He is the department’s sketch artist and with the testimony of the witness, he can construct a visual for investigators to run with and of course, that can break a case if someone recognizes the suspect. Whitfield sits down and listens with a keen ear, while trying to gather as much information as possible to make an accurate sketch, so even the smallest of details can be important. When he finishes the sketch, he realizes he recognizes the suspect and it happens to be his wife, Rayanne (Sean Young). He abandons the sketch in order to buy some time, but can he clear his wife’s name or has she done the unthinkable?

Entertainment Value: Sketch Artist isn’t going down in history as a cinematic masterpiece, but I think it is a fun flick and one that has a fantastic premise, even if it winds up failing to put that potential to work. I think the basic concept is excellent, with a sketch artist drawing his wife as a murder suspect, but the movie doesn’t run with it much. Even so, it is a solid story even with the missteps and to me, it is the b movie vibes that make Sketch Artist earn its keep. Despite the drastic circumstances, no one seems stressed about what’s going on and that lends to some unintentional humor, which I think adds a lot of fun here. I think that is also due to how the narrative turns from interesting to painfully predictable, as the stakes should be high, but there’s no urgency or immediacy involved. There’s just enough wackiness, on purpose or other wise, to dial up the movie to sometimes even manic stretches, which I found super entertaining, to say the least. Add in some colorful performances and a capable cast and Sketch Artist earns a solid recommendation.

The cast is a big positive for the entertainment value here, especially with Jeff Fahey in a strange, but fun to watch lead performance. He acts like an absolute lunatic in many of the scenes, sometimes in moments that don’t require even a fraction of his reactionary energies. And believe me, Fahey’s turn here can be described in many, many ways, but you can’t claim a lack of energy, as he uncorks an enthusiastic and manic effort. His facial expressions, outbursts toward other characters, and general corniness are so much fun in Sketch Artist, a wild and memorable lead turn. I just wish the material would have taken advantage of his high energy levels, as that could have infused even more b movie madness into his already quite juiced performance. Sean Young is here and isn’t given a lot to do, but she provides some good spice and has some fun moments of dialogue as well. The cast also includes Frank McRae, Mark Boone Junior, Drew Barrymore, and Charlotte Lewis.

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