With its smoky, jazz-infused soundtrack, good-looking actors, and minimal and stylish sets, One Night Stand could almost be described as a "designer film". But writer/director Mike Figgis (the brains behind Leaving Las Vegas) should know better than this.
Figgis has turned in believable, well-constructed and funny dialogue here. His candid treatment of such themes as what makes a relationship tick and fidelity are easily on a par with his similar explorations in Leaving Las Vegas. But whereas Vegas' hard-edged realism made it unforgettable, One Night Stand's polished, stylised veneer stifles the script, making it a visually stimulating but ultimately disappointing picture.
Each scene in this adultery/AIDS/marital crisis drama leaves you cold in your seat. Only two fairly low-key sex scenes live up to the film's "erotic" tag, while Figgis is more concerned with letting his audience get swept away by Declan Quinn's elegant cinematography.
The main problem is Figgis' directing. Snipes and Kinski are dropped into scenes on the understanding that, if they look sultry and there are lots of long, moody silences, then we'll somehow believe the raging desire between them. We don't.
On the plus side (and there has to be something), Downey Jr's AIDS-suffering best mate provides a glimmer of what this film should have been. Delivering a visually powerful performance, he balances meaty psychological complexities with heart-felt emotion in a role free of cheap American sentiment.
But Downey Jr is not around enough to save One Night Stand and it's a hollow experience - - once it's impressed you with its glossy and glamorous images, you just wait in vain for the actors to get going. Sadly, Figgis has failed to deliver here. If Vegas hadn't been so damned good you could lose your faith in his abilities.