US / 87 minutes / color / Rainforest, Foxy Brown, L. Richardson, Willpower–Rahlo Dir: Craig Ross Jr. Pr: William Packer, Rob Hardy Scr: Kelsey Scott Story: Rob Hardy, Willpower, Kelsey Scott Cine: Kenneth Stipe Cast: Vivica A. Fox, Shemar Moore, Golden Brooks, Sean Blakemore, Joe Torry, Victoria Rowell, Mel Jackson, William L. Johnson, Caryn Ward, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Zane Copeland Jr., Brian Hite.
Wealthy and outwardly successful Atlanta businessman Emery Simms (Moore), owner of the newly opened Chamomile Terrace Restaurant, is married to Constance “Connie” (Fox), whose Youth Advocacy Center works to give opportunities to deprived youngsters.
Even though Connie looks like Vivica A. Fox, Emery proves easy prey when young floozy Allannah James (Brooks) throws herself at him; it’s not long before he has her set up in a luxury condo. But soon things are spiraling out of control. The cops, in the shape of Detectives Pierce (Rowell) and Morgan (Jackson), believe—correctly—that Emery’s tied up in shady dealings and a manslaughter.
Allannah’s estranged husband (and pimp?) Derrick Thompson (Torry) turns up at the restaurant and picks a fight with Emery, then goes to the condo and demands sex and/or money from Allannah. For her part, just as Emery has decided he should get his head together and rebuild his relationship with Connie, Allannah announces first that she’s in love with him and then that she’s pregnant with his child. When he’s dismissive of her, she tricks Connie into a meeting at which Connie gives her a check for $100,000 just to go away.
Back at the condo, there’s a confrontation between Emery, Derrick and Allannah, after which Allannah’s found with her throat cut . . .
In the movie’s final moments, with Emery incarcerated for the two killings, we discover—as does he—that his restaurant’s manager, old college buddy and supposed all-around nice guy Brandon Collier (Blakemore) has been puppetmaster of most of the events, and of Emery’s downfall. As the credits roll, we see the “missing” scenes of Brandon setting up Allannah as lure and getting Derrick in on the act . . .
Much of the movie’s very well and cleverly made, with an interestingly sophisticated narration, and the ending revelation is nicely concealed until the time’s right; among the cast, Blakemore is outstanding. Yet Motives does have its problems. Emery’s arrest is clumsily staged, the sex scenes are cheesy, it’s annoyingly unclear if Connie has been aware of Brandon’s machinations, and Atlanta seems to be almost entirely depopulated; again and again there are exterior shots in which the characters seem to be playing out their drama in an otherwise empty city.
This was sequeled by Motives 2: Retribution (2007 DTV).
On Amazon.com: Motives