Pacific Heights

Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine, Michael Keaton

Directed by John Schlesinger
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
September 28, 1990

Another ride down Hitchcock road, but a jolting and hypnotic one, thanks to fleet directing from John Schlesinger and a twisty script by Daniel Pyne. The story taps into a yuppie nightmare: Patty Palmer (Melanie Griffith) and Drake Goodman (Matthew Modine), lovers on the verge of marriage, have pooled their money for a down payment on a Victorian home in San Francisco. To help with expenses, they rent a studio downstairs to Carter Hayes (Michael Keaton), who's hardly the charmer he seems. It's not just that he stiffs them on the rent, hammers at night and breeds roaches; Hayes, to judge by his reaction to an eviction notice, may be a psycho.

Pyne says he had real-life troubles evicting the wrong person, and though he admits his script is a worst-case scenario, the legal machinations of eviction lend this thriller authenticity. It also helps that Griffith and Modine delineate the strains on the couple's relationship with humor and grit. Still, the movie's sizzle comes from Keaton. Out of Batman's do-gooder cape, he delivers a chilling performance, imbuing what could have been a one-note nut case with unexpected reserves of feeling. The acting and direction don't fill in all the credibility gaps, but they do make for classy, crackling suspense.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Santa Monica”

    Everclear | 1996

    After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

    More Song Stories entries »