Cutter's Way (1981)
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Adapted from Newton Thornburg's novel Cutter and Bone, the film explores the travails of Alex Cutter, a disabled veteran of the Vietnam War (John Heard), and his friend (Jeff Bridges), a drifter accused of murder. The film disappeared quickly after its release, but this reissued version swept the major awards at the Houston Film Fest (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Screenplay).
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Critic Reviews for Cutter's Way
The result is nothing less than a modern masterpiece, and a film ripe for rediscovery.
Almost as impressive as Polanski's Chinatown and an extraordinary change of gear from one of the fine Czech New Wave's most notable alumni.
The film moves with an easy uncoerced swing: moment by moment, scene by scene, we are unsure what to think or where we are going. It is a fascinating, organically grown drama.
Passer continued his wayward career without ever producing anything quite like Cutter again. It's a one-off, a largely overlooked shining gem. Do yourself a favour.
Cutter and Bone are seriously unlikeable characters, yet Czech émigré director Ivan Passer and writer Jeffrey Alan Fiskin make us see light in these hearts of darkness.
Exceptional script, direction and performances make this elliptical neo-noir a forgotten classic.
Like the '70s output of Pakula and Lumet, Ivan Passer's tense thriller stands as a classy monument to the paranoia of post-Watergate America.
The three leads are on outstanding form, while Jack Nitzsche's score shimmers with foreboding.
This anatomy of intimate male camaraderie in the post-Vietnam War era could have been more resonant if the tale didn't include a routine murder mystery, which diffuses the otherwise beautifully acted (particularly Jeff Bridges) and shot saga.
Audience Reviews for Cutter's Way
The crime thriller didn't manage to tickle the bones enough. Not an ideal source of entertainment, but tolerable all the same.More
A forgotten paranoia trhiller from the 80s which delivers the goods with complex characters and great performances from Jeff Bridges and John Heard.More
An excellent, slow-burning, occasionally noirish thriller. Jeff Bridges plays Richard Bone, a yacht salesman/gigolo who accidentally witnesses the disposal of a murdered girl's body after his car breaks down in a rainstorm. When Bone thinks he recognises a wealthy local oil tycoon as the man he saw through the rain that night, his friend Alex Cutter (John Heard), a bitter, alcoholic Vietnam veteran, awakens from his apathetic torpor and embarks on an obsessive quest to bring the 'killer' to justice.
From the outset Cutter is established as a landlocked, modern day Ahab - indeed, his very first words are a reference to Moby Dick - hunting not so much for the one that got away as for the one that gets away with it: the untouchable, over-privileged leviathan of big business; exactly the kind of guy who stayed home in his well-insulated ivory tower while Cutter was being relieved of an eye, an arm and a leg in Southeast Asia. It's a fascinating idea and, if anything, the script could have done more with it. No matter, because what makes the movie really special is the wonderful love triangle between Heard, Bridges and Lisa Eichhorn, who plays Cutter's wife, Mo. It will give you some idea of how great Eichhorn is in this movie if I say she wipes the floor with Heard and Bridges, both of whom are at least as good here as they've been in anything else; she breaks my heart every time and should have picked up every award going.
[font=Century Gothic]"Cutter's Way" starts out with Richard Bone's(Jeff Bridges) jalopy breaking down in an alley during a rainstorm and he is almost run down by another car. Later, the body of a young woman is discovered in a dumpster there. At first, the police suspect Bone but he is released in time to attend a local parade. While there with his best friend, Alex Cutter(John Heard, who is amazing), and Cutter's long suffering wife, Maureen(Lisa Eichhorn), Bone spots the man he saw in the alley. One problem - it turns out to be J. J. Cord, the city's leading industrialist.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Cutter's Way" is not so much a mystery, as it is a good, solid character study of two friends who have seen better days.(Notice the cars they drive.) Bone has drifted through life with no commitments and is now living on a boat, while working as a boat salesman. On the other hand, Cutter enlisted in the army to fight in the Vietnam War where he was severely crippled(most American soldiers of this war were from poorer families; it is inferred that Cutter is from a wealthy family) and is now angry at the world around him but he is not as crazy as he first seems. Cutter is also one of the only characters who is not automatically deferential to the upper classes.[/font]
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