, 05 Feb 2005
Billy Friedkins's brilliant cop thriller from 1985 - William Peterson(of CSI fame)plays Richard Chance a hotshot Secret Service agent hot on the trail of master forger Rick Masters(a menacing Willem Dafoe) who has murdered Chance's partner and friend 3 days before he was due to retire.As a consequence he is now partenered by John Vucocvich(John Pankow) who is as straight by the book as Chance is a maverick.
Chance will stop at nothing to get Masters - he bends the rules,steals evidence and after his request to raise money to buy Masters forged notes decides to take matters into his own hands.
He is also having a sexual relationship with Ruth(Darlene Fluogel)who feeds him information - in this case about a drug dealer who is carrying 50 Grand in cash and arrives the next day - Chance persuades Vucovich to rob the guy and use the cash to set Masters up - unfotunatly the whole thing is a an FBI sting operation and both agents are soon way out of their depth.
Chance decides to carry on with the operation but Vucovich's doubts grow and the fact that their actions led to the death of a Federal agent only makes his guilt even more intense.
Its an absolutly cracking movie - exellent played characters - Peterson plays Chance as somone beyond caring for anything apart from nailing Masters and Dafoe is at his reptillian best as the forger - his grin gets more and more sinister as the film unfolds.Fine support from Dean Stockwell as a slimy lawyer and the ever exellent John Tuturro as one of Masters bagmen whom gets caught and is forced to turn stoolie.
The film also has a very amoral feel to it - Chance will use anyone he can to achive his ends - he morally blackmails Vucovich to going along and his relationship with Ruth is even more dodgy - she asks him what he would do if she stopped supplying him with information(and presumably sex) - 'I'll have your parole revoked and have you sent back to the joint'.....
Fantastic photography by the great Robby Muller and a car chase through L.A. that ends up going down the wrong way of an 8 lane freeway adds to the films pleasures as does the use of locations around the city that you don't normally see - railtracks,sidings,industrial landscapes and the L.A. river basin are all uses to terrific effect.It has a very '80's soundtrack by Wang Chung that fits the mood and location perfectly and its has a very bleak ending that Hollywood would have real issues with today.
A key film from the 1980's - just a shame its the last great film that Friedkin made before decending into straight to video hell.....
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