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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


In John Boorman’s influential thriller, New Wave stylings and a nihilistic edge merge with the dregs of old Hollywood production gloss, turning a middling gangster revenge meller into more than the sum of its parts. Lee Marvin (in a role Mel Gibson revamped) is left for dead at a money drop off (on Alcatraz!), but he keeps popping back up to knock off everyone who won’t cough up the $93,000 due him. With such chump-change at stake, Boorman was emboldened to take a lot of stylistic leeway and he color-codes, time shifts & jump cuts with abandon, rarely pausing to worry about logic or narrative continuity. And the style holds it all together, along with uncommonly strong iconic perfs from Marvin, Angie Dickenson & the great, creepy John Vernon. Best of all is Carroll O’Connor as an exasperated Mr Big.

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