US merchant sailor Alex Walker (Kevin Anderson) is stranded in Mexico, penniless and wanted by the police. He meets and joins up with an unlikely couple – ageing but likeable shit Phillip Mills (John Lithgow) and young sexy, frustated wife Missy (Rosanna Arquette). The three develop a curiously inter-dependent relationship. Meanwhile, Police Captain Diaz and Detective Ortega are closing in and the plot circle is closed at Tapachula rail station amidst a stack of mistakes and wrong decisions.
This romantic, neo-noirish thriller (a made-for-cable Showtime original movie) by director Jim McBride was a title not to be confused with Hitchcock’s 1956 crime film. Its tagline was un-original fare:
“Accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Obsessed by a woman he can’t possess.”
In the plot, introverted US merchant seaman Alex Walker (Kevin Anderson), in a white suit, was stranded in a port in Mexico. (Alex was already a fugitive. In his past, Alex faced manslaughter charges for knifing to death a man found in bed with his girlfriend.) After being conned into spending his money on a Latino prostitute while having his wallet stolen by smuggler-con Felix Crawley (Robert Harper), he became a victim of mistaken identity when he found the con-man inexplicably dying from a gunshot wound.
Pursued and chased by police, he met up with a weird married American couple when he hid in their convertible, and claimed he had “jumped ship”:
Phillip Mills (John Lithgow), a crass-speaking individual, and a smuggler (“freight solicitor”) of fancy automobiles
Missy Mills (Rosanna Arquette), a sexy, frustrated, seductive, younger and voluptuous breast-baring female (at one point, she bragged: “I do have nice tits”), supposedly from a wealthy Charleston, South Carolinian family
They offered to drive him to Vera Cruz where he could catch up to his cargo ship. During the road trip in a red convertible through Mexico’s rural areas, they became an inter-dependent trio in an odd love triangle. Almost immediately during their ride, she decided to strip down to her panties and frolic in the surf.
Missy was verbally demeaned (called a “lazy c–t” and “just a whore”) by her husband, and tantalized Alex with her continual display of libidinous sexiness. A topless dance on a motel-room table by sensual exhibitionist Missy in front of the two men was a highpoint, when she also received a piggy-back ride from Phillip.
In the finale, a violent confrontation scene at the Tapachula train station, Phillip was accidentally shot, while Alex escaped on a departing train. As he died in her arms, Phillip assured Missy: “Don’t you worry, beauty queen.”
Director: Jim McBride