At Close Range - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

At Close Range Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 16, 2011
Fact is stranger than fiction. And it was so in this case. I found the real events on which the movie was based to be creepier than the movie itself. I was startled to learn that some of the sequences weren't artistic creations, but it happened for real. For example: I found the scene where Brad Jr. gets shot with Terry, but survives it, to be unbelievable, but was surprised I was furious over that clickhe when Sean Penn came out of the car after being hit badly. Thoughj it may not have happened per se as in the movie, but it did happen seems surprising. The screenplay could have been better than what it is with the given storyline.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
Yes, this movie is based on a true story, but true stories aren't always that good as movies. I liked some of this movie, it's got some good actors, too, but most of it was boring and I didn't care for the end.
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2010
Christopher Walken and Sean Penn star in this much overlooked film from 1986 regarding a family of small-time criminals. Walken plays Brad Whitewood Sr., the malevolent, soft spoken father who really cares about his family of criminals, yet his own flesh and blood's importance to him is quite dubious.
Sean Penn and his brother Chris portray the Whitewood sons Brad Jr. and Tommy, and a slew of other known actors such as the brilliant Crispin Glover play friends and partners in crime. If you've missed this one and are a fan of any of the aforementioned actors, I highly recommend this.
Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 2007
It was clear to see in this film what a great actor Sean Penn was going to become. A very slender Chris Penn plays his on and off screen brother and the talented Christopher Walken his father.

Slightly drawn out, this film shows a teenage delinquent who is impressed by his real father's reputation and gets deeper and deeper into crime. The moral of the story gives out a very strong messge.

VERDICT: An enjoyable, but slightly slow to watch, but worth watching
Super Reviewer
½ June 8, 2009
A lot of the character connections in this movie feel stilted and never quite take on a sense of reality. This is in large part due to the staging by director James Foley, and what is at times a frustrating script. Motivations are lost in the thick of action, and we are left with a void that prevents it from being anything other than a solid thriller. Christopher Walken is a foreboding, intriguing presence onscreen, and I found that he was an absolute joy to watch. Sean Penn also does a very good job as his morally conflicted son.
½ October 6, 2015
Great concept that was well acted all around. It had me wishing that director stuck to one tone throughout. It had the potential to be something greater than it was.
½ October 8, 2007
One of the more underrated thrillers of it's time, this is a dark jewel of a drama, with first-rate performances.
½ July 4, 2013
"Oh no, I forgot to feed the dog."-Terry (Mary Stuart Masterson"

The cast alone is reason enough to watch this film.


"Shhhhhh."-Brad Whitewood Sr. (Christopher Walken)
May 26, 2013
One of the most underrated dramas of the past 100 years. This film tells the true story of a young man named Brad Whitewood Jr. (Sean Penn) and his father Brad Sr.(Christopher Walken)who tries to enlist his sons into his organized tractor stealing scheme. Brad is at first tempted but sees the truly evil ways of his father. This film should have been nominated for several Academy Awards, Penn and Walken give Some of the best performances of all time. this film is so suspensful that after so long you feel as if you can't watch anymore. **** out of **** stars.
February 9, 2013
talk about a killer Walken flick. this one rocks for me. i have seen it several times and each time i watch it i feel like it's the first time. captivating true story and briliiant performances by all.
October 3, 2008
I watched this instead of the VP debates. Glad I did. Haven't seen it since its HBO days 20 years ago! An underrated '80s crime drama with great performances from Penn & Walken, cool '80s synth score (Madonna's "Live to Tell" w/o lyrics!), moody cinematography, & a cool climactic confrontation (the title gives you a hint). Great death scene with Chris Penn, alas. "Is this the family gun, Dad?!" Damn.
½ April 25, 2012
Very good crime drama. Christopher Walken and Sean Penn are great. Definitely worth checking out.

~ Average Movie Guy
April 17, 2012
The final conclusion is very predictable, but Penn and Walken gives some of the finest performances of their careers.
December 17, 2011
Was James Foley actually talented or did he benefit from incredible material to work with in the beginning of his career? Brilliant cast top to bottom and the performances are top notch. There are alot of really good performances but Chris Walken is truly amazing, goes right up there with 'Deer Hunter' in my opinion. Foley nails the tone of these people and there lives perfectly. There are a few directorial choices near the end that sentimentalize the material a little too much for me. But this is a bleak, disturbing look at a horrendous situation that happens to be true.
½ October 17, 2010
I was a fan of Walken in this film, the cool psycopathic leader of a not-even-that-big organized crime unit in Rednecktown. His estranged son, Sean Penn is mostly good as well. When Brad Sr. takes Jr. under his wing, Jr. is mostly happy with the career choice. Home/farm burglaries provide a steady income. Even Jr's girlfriend is a fan, 'cause she likes pretty expensive stuff. There are a lot of slow paced montages of kids being happy set to music.

At one point, Jr. feels like he's getting in over his head and breaks out to start his own crime crew, which ends in quick arrest. Brad Sr. starts eliminating the potential talkers. And then, to kick off the third act, Sr. really breaks what I think his character would have done. It's ravenous and illogical, which is where I bully my rating down. Penn also overacts all over the third act. And throughout the film, the score is rediculous and annoying; just different variations of the chord that serves as the focal point of the soundtrack single, Madonna's "Live To Tell".

It's got it's problems.
½ August 13, 2010
A good narrow story about crime and family ties.Based on a true story which the movie stays true too and i thought it was a good story and powerful at some parts. Both lead actors were good in the movie and had some other good actors like Chris Penn and Keifer Sutherland.I Wished It Showed The Full Court Testimony But Didn't But Still A Ok Film.
June 9, 2010
One of the most underrated dramas of the past 100 years. This film tells the true story of a young man named Brad Whitewood Jr. (Sean Penn) and his father Brad Sr.(Christopher Walken)who tries to enlist his sons into his organized tractor stealing scheme. Brad is at first tempted but sees the truly evil ways of his father. This film should have been nominated for several Academy Awards, Penn and Walken give Some of the best performances of all time. this film is so suspensful that after so long you feel as if you can't watch anymore. **** out of **** stars.
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