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This film was really onto something when it was first released, but its primary themes (disillusionment and consequence) didn't win the hearts and minds during Reagan's first term. Many people I knew found this movie to be too dreary and depressing for human consumption, but I remained haunted by it to this day, ;particularly John Heard's fearless performance as an emotionally and physically devastated Vietnam veteran, and the incredible parade shot over the opening credits.
An inspiring film, it is constructed like a thriller; but instead of reaching for thrills, it leaves them in the background and concentrates on the complexities of its characters.
cinegeek.de 30 jahre später und immer noch sehe ich mir in Abständen Jeff Bridges und John Heard an, wie sie einen Mord rächen. Ganz langsam hat es dieser sonnendurchflutete Neo Noir von Ivan Passer während der letzten Dekaden geschafft, von einer Kult-Obskurität zum Meisterwerk zu reifen. Der Film kam 1981 in die Kinos aber atmete immer noch die Atmosphäre der späten 60er. Fast scheint es so, als ob die verlorenen Ideale der Zeit nur noch von ein paar ausgebrannten Überlebenden hochgehalten werden. Wir befinden uns irgendwo in Santa Barbara. Cutter's Way eröffnet mit der Leiche eines Mädchens. Man hat sie einfach in den Müll geworfen. Zeuge ist Richard Bone (Jeff Bridges), ein Mittdreissiger Country Club Gigolo, der nebenbei als Callboy jobbt. Bone ist sich allerdings nicht sicher, was er nun wirklich gesehen hat (schliesslich war es ein regnerische Nacht). Ganz anders sein Freund, der einäugige, einarmige und einbeinige Vietnam Veteran Alex Cutter (gespielt vom tollen John Heard). Der zynische Alkoholiker wohnt mit Bone zusammen. Er kann den mutmasslichen Mörder identifizieren: Es ist der bekannte Unternehmer J.J. Cord (Stephen Elliott) und wir sind mittendrin in einer Verschwörung... Jeff Bridges bildet den Ruhepol des Films, während John Heard leidenschaftlich ausrasten darf. Das Herz aber ist Maureen (Lisa Eichhorn) als Cutters Frau: "Home so early, Rich? You couldn't find a matron with a taste for gutter squalor?", fragt sie mit ihrer brüchigen, fast verrückten Stimme. Eine ausgemergelte, dumpfe Alkoholikerin. Das ist die Welt von Cutter's Way und sie entfaltet sich von Mal zu Mal sehen. Du wirst merken, wie du einige Passagen noch lange im Kopf behälst. Gib Cutter's Way eine Chance und sieh ihn dir gleich noch einmal an. Er braucht diese Anlaufzeit!
Of the thousands of movies I've seen, it's the only one I went back to see again on my own because how impressive and at times confusing I found it. As noted the performances are excellent - the characters both off putting and charismatic by turns. The plot is murky - but by design, not by poor planning or execution. If you need to know what's going on at every moment - by all means avoid the movie. But if like a game of go or peeling open an artichoke the process is important to you, please do see it.
Non-cohesive but impressively charismatic and well performed neo noir. Bridges, Heard and Lisa Eichhorn have great chemistry together and richly defined characters with rough edges. My only regret is that the plot never tickens, and wanders without consistency through romance, comedy and paranoia.
The story ends on a grim, and yet perfect note.
The acting and the characters drive this movie. John Heard is unbelievable. The thriller aspects are secondary, but an integral in bringing out Cutter's personality.
Cutters Way is a really interesting, curious film noir thriller, it's almost unconcerned with things like narrative, plot or even the murder mystery at it's centre, it's more about the characters, mood, atmosphere and dialogue it feels loose and ragged, it moves at it's own pace, sometimes your not even sure were it's actually going, which can be both exciting and frustrating, it's not meandering but it sometimes feels like it. What this film is really about is the two men at the centre of the story, Jeff Bridges (looking stunningly young and handsome) as Richard Bone, a womanising drifter so uncomitted to anything in his life or others, that the murder mystery he's in the middle of even seems like a thing of little concern to him, and then theres John Heard as title character Alex Cutter, the actor is known to pretty much everyone as Kevin Mccallister's dad Peter from the Home Alone films, this is a shame because he is absolutely spectacular in this film, if Heard only could have at least given us another half dozen performance's of this searing, magnetic intensity, he would have been one of the greatest actors of all time, because this is one of the greatest performances and one of the most complex and compelling characters i've ever seen in a film, he's that damn good, truly a wasted actor. The other big drive of this film is it's complete ambiguity, theres a good chance that the real killer may have walked right out of this films story after he dumps the body at the beginning, theres a feeling that this is all a mistake. The ending especially will haunt you for a long time, questioning over and over what really happened. Great, underrated, uncompromising and intelligent grown up film making.
Nice noir. John Heard is the best/Snake Plissken. Jeff Bridges is great. Terrific mysterious bad guy.
The second best cult film.ever made .next to The Wanderers.
Jeff Bridges plays Richard Bone who is drifting through life, as a part-time gigolo and boat salesman, whereas his friend, Alex Cutter, a Vietnam vet who has lost an arm, a leg, and an eye (played sharply by John Heard), is passionately and pointedly committed to a singularly bitter viewpoint (that the rich and powerful will screw over everyone). Cutter is an exceptional character (almost doing an alcoholic and manic early Tom Waits impression) -- as memorable as any to appear in any film -- but ultimately the movie may be more about Bone's ability or inability to make a real decision. A conspiracy theory plot remains resolutely out-of-focus as a kind of lingering hangover from 1970s films, but this is almost purely about characters and not about how they get from point A to Z.