Audiences have seen this story before…two young people hit the road, hold up stores, get their hands on some artillery, and the trouble heightens until a final tragic ending. NATURAL BORN KILLERS, THELMA AND LOUISE and others have fully explored this dishonorable formula, and, now, NIAGARA, NIAGARA changes the name and adds in a few unique details, to result in another re-hash of the same story, without adding any charm, insight or entertainment.
Further trying to distance himself from the little boy in E.T., Henry Thomas plays troubled young Seth. Seth has no job and lives with his poor abusive father. At a Wal-Mart type store in northern New York state, he meets a young woman named Marcy (Robin Tunney) while shoplifting. They immediately become friends, and soon lovers. Seth discovers that Marcy comes from a rich family that pays no attention to her, and that she also suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, a disease that causes her to uncontrollably twitch, slap people and sometimes shout obscenities.
One day, Seth and Marcy decide to take a road trip to Toronto in order to find a black-Barbie head. Along the way, Marcy runs out of prescription pills, which helps control her disease. Her condition worsens, and they rob a Pharmacy for the medication and nab a few other pills just for thrills. The Pharmacist shoots Seth in the leg, and Seth accidentally rolls his car and is picked up by a cussing junk man. Seth heals a little, and they visit Niagara Falls and then make it to Toronto, where police catch up with them, resulting in tragedy.
Nothing, except the background music, is laudable about this movie. Robin Tunney (seen in THE CRAFT) acts earnestly, but unconvincingly, as a victim of Tourette’s. Thomas merely stares blankly most of the time. While it is explained that both Seth and Marcy have some family problems, the real nature of their rebellion is never fully explored. The writer and director try to make the audience sympathetic to Robin and her need for her medication, but she seems bright enough to arrange for a proper prescription from the start. NATURAL BORN KILLERS tried to reveal, at least in part, some of the spiritual decadence that criminals have, and THELMA AND LOUISE attempted to make a feminist statement. NIAGARA, NIAGARA makes no statement at all.
Marcy manages her symptoms with alcohol and prescription drug abuse. She swears often, and their junkyard friend Walter (Michael Parks) takes the Lord’s Name in vain often. NIAGARA, NIAGARA also has the two anti-heroes in two depicted scenes of fornication. This is a filler movie, a project to build resumes of rising actors who merely want to act in edgier material. This selfish desire doesn’t necessarily build audiences, nor fan bases. NIAGARA, NIAGARA falls flat.
Strong pagan worldview of thieving young couple with mild romantic & moral elements; 76 obscenities & 24 profanities; mild violence including shooting resulting in a bloody death, man smacks man, car goes off road, girl hits man with a rifle butt, & Tourette's Syndrome girl hits & slaps man; two depictions of fornication; excessive underage drinking; smoking & excessive prescription drug use; and, lying, vomiting & stealing.