Touch Review (1997)

Review: Touch is a movie about adults hangin’ out; nothing wrong with that, it’s just that Paul Schrader has accomplished more time and time again. Skeet Ulrich and Bridget Fonda are good, but Christopher Walken ultimately overshadows them.

review of Lynn (Bridget Fonda) and Juvenal (Skeet Ulrich) in Touch (1997), directed by Paul Schrader
Lynn (Bridget Fonda) and Juvenal (Skeet Ulrich) in Touch (1997), directed by Paul Schrader

Touch Review

For a down-to-Earth, grimy filmmaker like Paul Schrader, Touch is a bit of an odd detour. The subject matter – a preacher (played by Christopher Walken) and his friend (Bridget Fonda) attempt to exploit a stranger (Skeet Ulrich) capable of healing the less fortunate – is too wacky or insincere to feel like a perfect match with Schrader’s exacting and deliberate style.

And yet, Paul Schrader still almost stays afloat, although his contemporary influences shine through in large swaths quite frequently. The material and execution resemble his pulpy acquaintances more than Schrader himself, from the mundane tone to pastel-ridden set design. The neo-noir pastiche, combined with Elmore Leonard’s source material, is better served in the hands of the Coens or Steven Soderbergh or Quentin Tarantino. The same self-serious tone that Paul Schrader has blanketed over many of his releases (Mishima, Light Sleeper, First Reformed, etc.) is absent here.

Skeet Ulrich and Bridget Fonda are good, but Christopher Walken ultimately overshadows them for most of the runtime for this exact reason. He’s most in-tune with the direction and tone, as the supernatural, indefinable premise lends itself to his tongue-in-cheek delivery.

More than anything, Touch is a movie about adults hangin’ out; nothing wrong with that, it’s just that Paul Schrader has accomplished more time and time again. As a pretentious critic might say: a minor Schrader effort.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Touch (1997) is available to watch on The Criterion Channel and VOD

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Reviews for Movies like Touch (1997)

Touch Film Cast and Credits

touch 1997 movie review

Touch Cast

Bridget Fonda as Lynn Marie Faulkner

Christopher Walken as Bill Hill

Skeet Ulrich as Juvenal

Tom Arnold as August Murray

Gina Gershon as Debra Lusanne

Touch Credits

Director: Paul Schrader

Writers: Paul Schrader, Elmore Leonard

Cinematography: Edward Lachman

Editor: Cara Silverman

Composer: Dave Grohl

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