In the Line of Fire - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

In the Line of Fire Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 22, 2006
A sizzling, stunning and pulse-pounding edge of your seat thriller. An relentlessly exciting and thrilling ride. It's gripping, outstanding and unforgettable. Clint Eastwood gives a first-rate Oscar caliber performance, he has the charm, intensity and irresistible romantics that makes this one of the best performances of his career ever and just shows why he`s a movie star. John Malkovich is riveting, giving a chilling and charismatic performance that's just pure dynamite. Packs a piercing bullet of unrelenting suspense and explosive action. This is one Thriller you don't want to miss. It's cleverly constructed and well executed. A triumph by Director, Wolfgang Peterson. A classic cat and mouse mind-game. An exhilarating and adrenaline-pumping film.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2006
The secret agent who was on duty in Dallas when Kennedy was shot wants a second chance as a maniac starts to threaten the president. John Malkovich delivers one of his greatest performances as ruthless psychopath (or is he?) who starts playing mind games with protagonist Eastwood, who is far from over his failure in the past. While the agent has to deal with a new team of coworkers, his past and his age, the stalker seeks the contact to him, raising questions like whether or not a president is worth taking a bullet for. Their phone conversations are great scenes of two worthy opponents, with the psycho having the advantage on his side for the longest times. Thankfully, the film never gets overly political or even patriotic, but sticks to its thriller theme and works great there. Of course, things lead to a very exciting showdown. A very satisfying, entertaining and engaging thriller.
Super Reviewer
½ March 12, 2008
Featuring an excellent script, great direction, and some wonderfully solid performances, this is a very exciting film, and one of the most taut, and suspense, and first-rate thrillers out there. Frank Horrigan is a veteran secret service agent who failed to save JFk from being assassinated. He's still haunted by his past three decades later, and it all comes rushing back to him when he starts receinving menacign phone calls from a sadistic man who stalks him and keeps making threats to not only take out the current president, but Frank as well. This new threat really starts to wear Frank down even more, but the situation also provides him with a long awaited chance at both redemption and closure.

Oh sure, the film is slick, Hollywood-ized and not without some cliches, but despite all that, this is a tightly wound, occasionally very smart, and engaging thriller. What really makes a lot of it work is Jeff Maguire's great script, and the standout performances from a talented and notable cast. Eastwood brings genuine class, heart, and authenticity to the role of Frank, and John Malkovich, though he's now typecasted for this sort of thing, is truly mancing and scary as the cunning, devious, and psyche bruising antagonist. He's played some really great and chilling villains before, but this one easily deserves to be somewhere very near, if not right on top of that list. He brings jsut the right touch to keep the character from becoming a cartoon, or just mindless.

Rene Russo is nice as a tough field chief working with Frank who, despite a rocky start, does begin to warm up to him and become one of the few people he can really trust, which is even more important when things really start to build up to the climax. Dylan McDermot is also fine, though a little rough around the edges in his turn as a rookie agent. It's fun seeing Gary Cole in a pre-Brady Bunch and Office Space role that's as far from comedic as you can get.

I could really nit-pick if I wanted to, but it's really not all that necessary. This isn't the most ingenious film ever, but it's never dull, got a great set up, some really good characters, and the themes of guilt, redemption, and the commonalities between predator and prey are all examined in a well done and entertaining manner. I did like Ennio Morricone's score, but, honestly, I think that might be the only there here that could really be seen as rather weak and a little disappointing.

All in all though, this really does have a great plot and is one of the best thrillers out there. Definitely give this one a watch and prepare yourself for Wolfgang Petersen and his great cast giving some of their best work. As a nice bonus, there's actually some good humorous moments as well that surprisingly fit in instead of sticking out awkwardly.
Super Reviewer
June 11, 2011
It's not easy being a Hollywood villain, especially when you're up against the charisma that is Clint Eastwood. But John Malkovich does an excellent job delivering a toe-to-toe performance with the grand daddy of heroes. His and Eastwood's performances push forward what would have been an average, done-a-lot-before movie into an exciting thrill ride.
Super Reviewer
August 4, 2007
Excellent performances by Clinton and John. Clint is a secret service agent who failed to save JFK. He is taunted by an assassin who wants to kill the present day president. Good plot.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2010
Thrilling and suspenseful with a tight script, great direction and incredible performances. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
½ April 11, 2011
Wolfgang Petersen's In The Line Of Fire is a near flawless thriller about an active Secret service agent who served under JFK and who was on duty when Kennedy was assassinated. Following a plot by an assassin to kill the current President. Assassin Mitch Leary brilliantly played by John Malkovich torments Agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) that he will kill the President and that there is nothing that Horrigan can do to stop his plans. I thoroughly enjoyed In The Line Of Fire it has everything that you'd expect from a good Thriller. Clint Eastwood is in top form, and he delivers his best performance since the first Dirty Harry film. John Malkovich is excellent as Mitch Leary, he is the perfect choice to play the role of Leary. Malkovich lights up the screen in every scene he's in and he proves he's worthy adversary to Clint Eastwood's character. Wolfgang Petersen's directing is top notch, and
the story he tells never lets up. In The Line Of Fire is very tense up until the climax, and is edge of your seat entertainment. Like I've mentioned before, In The Line Of Fire is an almost perfect Thriller, but a few parts where cheesy and could have been better. But for the most part, this film succeeds in being a terrific film. In The Line Of Fire, for me is one of the best Thrillers to ever be released. With Clint Eastwood (whom I am a big fan of) and John Malkovich that go head to head, it's a very exciting film going experience. Two brilliant actors give excellent performances and this is quite possibly the best, most smartly crafted Thriller in a long time. Truly unique, and jaw dropping entertainment.
Super Reviewer
½ August 8, 2008
Of course, the flaws you can find in this movie is in its very Hollywoodian treatment, but when you face that fact, this film is pretty much perfect in the genre.
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2010
Just about as awesome as Clint Eastwood classics get. This has it all: great action, one-liners, interesting characters and an ingenious plot. One of Clint Eastwood's all time greatest lines is "Well I'll be thinkin' about that when I'm pissin' on your grave." You'd think a mid 60's man would be a little fragile, but I think he does more damage in this than most do in their entire careers. John Malkovich was completely deranged, which is always such a treat. It's perfect for anyone who loves conspiracy or political thrillers, but everyone should at least be able to find something they love about it.
Super Reviewer
½ April 29, 2007
A cool thriller with a strong cast as Eastwood tries to stop an assassination on the president......something he has failed at in the past!
Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 2010
One of Eastwood's better later films, thanks in large part to his terrific turn as a determined Secret Service agent who learns of a psycho (the always outstanding John Malkovich) who is planning to assassinate the President of the United States. Watching these two greats duel it out for over two hours is nothing short of compelling, and once the action scenes kick into gear, things get really good.
Super Reviewer
½ December 24, 2006
Aging secret serviceman Frank Horrigan is the only active agent to have ever lost a president and is still haunted by his memories of the Kennedy assassination so when a psychotic ex-CIA assassin decides to trade his life for the president's, Horrigan finds an opportunity for redemption. In The Line Of Fire will never win any prizes for originality. It's a very generic Hollywood thriller, with a very familiar structure and set of characters that is slickly directed by Wolfgang Petersen but is hardly inspirational. What makes the film are the cat and mouse scenes between the two skilled veterans Malkovich and Eastwood, who breathe life into what otherwise could have been yet another inconsequential and forgettable Hollywood thriller-by-numbers. Clint in particular brings depth and pathos to his character and this was the beginning of his ongoing theme of men of action coming to terms with old age. Even his unlikely and formulaic romance with Rene Russo is not without its charm, played as it is with just enough tongue-in-cheek humour. Yet another example of Eastwood's star quality raising what could otherwise have been a lacklustre project above expectation.
Super Reviewer
½ August 16, 2009
Wow, this just goes to show me that even the Eastwood films that I'd never heard much about, are equally as great as the heralded classics. Malkovich is great in this one too.
Super Reviewer
Frank Horrigan: What to do you see when you're in the dark, and the demons come?
Mitch Leary: I see you, Frank. I see you standing over the grave of another dead president.
Frank Horrigan: That's not going to happen. I'm onto you.
Mitch Leary: Forget it, Frank. I am willing to trade my life for his. I am smart, and I am willing, and that is all it takes. That president is coming home from California in a box.
Frank Horrigan: Where in California?
Mitch Leary: Uh, the address? Come on, Frank. I'll keep you in the game, but I'm not going to throw it for you.

Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich star as rivals in this top notch assassination thriller from director Wolfgang Peterson. The story involves a clever assassin toying with a secret service agent, who years prior failed to react during Kennedy's assassination.

Eastwood is Agent Frank Horrigan, a senior agent who suddenly finds himself the pawn of Malkovich's Mitch Leary, a man bent on making Horrigan's life hell as he taunts him with plans of murdering the president. Soon, Horrigan, his partner played by Dylan McDermott, and a female agent played by Rene Russo, among others are all part of the investigation hoping to catch Leary before its too late.

This is a very enjoyable thriller. Its quick paced, works well with its premise, provides a fun and exciting cat and mouse game, and treats its two best aspects very well. Eastwood is rocking it hard with his cool yet remorseful secret service agent, while Malkovich is quite slimy and crafty as the assassin. Russo also plays well with the obligatory yet workable female interest.
Frank Horrigan: How's the First Lady? She ask about me?
Lilly Raines: Have you gotten to know them yet?
Frank Horrigan: Well, I normally prefer not to get to know the people I'm protecting.
Lilly Raines: Oh, yeah? Why's that?
Frank Horrigan: Well, you never know. You might decide they're not worth taking a bullet for.

It was also a nice touch having Ennio Morricone (of Eastwood's famous westerns) compose the score for this flick. Its just another thing that fits in nicely with a Peterson film, who knows how to give a big Hollywood production what it needs. But there are more redeeming factors at play here.

There are two great monologues in this movie, that I chose not to post because of how good they are. One has Malkovich question Eastwood's defining career moment from the past and the other is Eastwood sharing his own thoughts on this matter for the first time to another. In a Hollywood thriller like this, its the way these characters handle these scenes that represents why this is an all around solid film.

Mitch Leary: I have a rendezvous with death, and so does the President, and so do you if you get too close.
Frank Horrigan: You have a rendezvous with my ass, motherfucker!
Super Reviewer
½ February 27, 2009
An excellent cat and mouse thriller with two excellent leads. Eastwood does a great job in the flick but so does the creep voice of Malkovich.
Super Reviewer
March 12, 2008
The last time Clint Eastwood was directed by another was this 1993 thriller that came out on the heels of Eastwood's masterpiece Unforgiven. Eastwood plays Frank Horrigan, an over the hill Secret Service agent that gets caught up in an assassination plot designed by the wonderfully psychotic John Malkovich. The little plot device thrown into this is that Horrigan was on JFK's detail in Dallas the day he was assassinated.
Wolfgang Petersen directs this thriller that takes us into the Secret Service for the first time. Eastwood plays Horrigan like Dirty Harry- even more so than the actual Dirty harry film The Dead Pool. But the true standout is Malkovich who plays the psychotic Mitch Leary with such calmness and delight you almost feel sad when he leaves the screen.
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2008
John Malkovich is great, Clint Eastwood is still BA
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2007
This decent but routine thriller was a significant step forward in Clint Eastwood's critical rebirth during the 1990s. He and John Malkovich play nicely off one another, but the perfunctory romantic sub-plot with Rene Russo slows things down and makes the film a mite overlong. The excellent John Heard makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-him appearance. Ennio Morricone's soundtrack draws heavily on his excellent work for De Palma's "The Untouchables".
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2007
An all-time favorite of mine. Clint Eastwood at his best, and John Malkovich being an awesome villain!
Super Reviewer
December 23, 2006
Decent Thriller
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