As a thriller, this film doesn't really make the mark, but as a character study, this really works. Its a shame Lumet felt the need to apply the conventions of the genre when its clear his focus was on Fonda's character.
A shame because Fonda's performance is exceptional here and given the chance, this could have gone alot deeper. Even so, her performances far surpasses the movie. Here she shows alot of the grit and deep bitterness that was shared with her two other great characters and performances, Gloria in They Shoot Horses, Dont They and Bree in Klute.
Its said that playing an alcoholic is difficult to pull off with any authenticity and more often then not ends up with the actor horribly going OTT and chewing the scenery in the hammiest way. Not the case here however. Yes, Jane has some big "look, Im a drunk... really I am!" scenes, but she manages to imbue a deep sense of the charcters pain through them, and captures the essence of the disease (if you will) with a rawness rarely seen. Especially the sense of self pity that is often associated with disease that is, if anyone has lived with an alcohoic can tell you, very infuriating but ultimatley heartbreaking.
A bravura peformance.
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained"