March 13, 1989 12:00 PM

HBO (Check local listings)


Whatever happened to glamorous locations? Set entirely on Death Row, this one-hour-plus movie explores the changing relationship between a mass murderer who has gone insane from harsh prison conditions, played by Latin pop-music star Ruben Blades, and his psychiatrist, portrayed by Danny (Lethal Weapon) Glover. The minimal plot is based on a court ruling that a criminal cannot be executed while he is judged to be insane, even though he was sane when he committed the crime. Glover is hired to “cure” the violent, uncommunicative killer so he can be sent to the gas chamber. As Patient becomes more and more rational, Doctor must wrestle with his conscience. Although this is meaty fare for drama, the film, directed by Richard (Heartland) Pearce, is done in by colorless performances and a pokey script. Especially corny is a subplot involving Glover’s late girlfriend, who has died of cancer (no one said this movie was an upper). This plea against capital punishment was at least filmed inside Laval and Bordeaux prisons in Canada, which gives it a gritty realism. Have we discussed the costumes?

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