Straight Time - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Straight Time Reviews

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September 12, 2016
Dustin Hoffman stars as ex-con Max Dembo in this adaptation of Eddie Bunker's pseudo-autobiographical novel "No Beast So Fierce". Max tries going straight for a little while, but a run-in with his parole officer (M. Emmet Walsh) gives him the excuse he's looking for to go back to a life of crime. Hoffman really isn't the obvious choice to play a tough guy, but this film was a passion project for him (he was originally going to direct it), and he loses himself completely in this role. It's a pretty fatalistic film ... I don't think anyone watching it could ever think things will turn out okay for Max ... and a quiet masterpiece with it's authentic, gritty atmosphere and phenomenal cast ...Theresa Russell, Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton and Kathy Bates.
½ May 13, 2016
I've seen this film before. I got to about the same place in the movie that I did the first time and couldn't take it any longer. Slow moving and ultra-realistic to the point of being not cinema. The characters, especially the goofball played by Busey, are TOO realistic. I liked Hoffman, Bates, and Walsh the most.
There's no humor in this movie at all. It's like being flushed down the toilet with no hope of popping back up. It's aggravating. You want to strike out at the screen and punch the characters in the mouth.
Having said all of that, Hoffman is terrific. Every time this guy smiles or laughs it makes you feel good. He makes the movie tolerable. . .for a while. Hoffman is great in the film, but even HE doesn't look like he's having a good time filming it. Stanton may be good in the film, but I never get far enough into it to find out. The scenes in the can factory are ugly and annoying. The seventies clothing is hysterical. I don't get the sense I'm in Los Angeles either. They could have filmed this somewhere in Kentucky and saved money. Think of how New York was a "character" in Midnight Cowboy. They could have done something like that.
Anyways, boring movie with the exception of Hoffman, and in the end, even he can't drag this out of the mundane muck.
½ May 8, 2016
Engrossing crime scenes
½ April 20, 2016
Quite a good film with some very memorable moments if a tad unrealistic
½ February 7, 2016
Engrossing modern crime drama mixing the ills of a system with the difficulty in going 'straight' and a burgeoning post-prison relationship. The sum of its parts make for a fascinating feature with plenty of star names in the cast list.
January 22, 2016
Although flawed by the same cinematic missteps typical of the 70s (overdone score, editing, sound) this picture is a gem and worth the two hour investment. Hoffman's character is believable and engaging and most of the support cast doesn't distract. The character that really caught my attention was that of Jenny, played by Theresa Russell. Her attraction to Hoffman's character was never conveyed in words, but I found I could conjure up a story just from her expressions. She and Hoffman made this otherwise ordinary 70s film into a real thought piece.
January 14, 2016
Not a very complicated film about the struggles of ex-cons, but so much was powerfully said without words. Hoffman does a great job and Russell was charming.
January 10, 2016
Cmon! This movie sucked!
January 9, 2016
Gene Siskel picked this as his favourite film of 1978, and it is probably the best Dustin Hoffman film that people overlook. Excellent character study and performances, though Therea Russells character is a bit of a cypher.
½ January 9, 2016
Heart-Breaking Character Study

Dustin Hoffman gives one of his all-time greatest performances in this film! He was started as director on it, but found it to be too much to do acting, producing and directing.

Ulu Grosbard takes over beautifully, knowing exactly the right tone and the right pace for the film. Cinematography by Owen Roizman has that great documentary quality, like was seen in "Dog Day Afternoon."

The script went through a number of writers, but you would never know. It still feels unified and organic.

(SPOILERS)
Please see this film! It is one of the great character studies! If you have seen it, I want to talk about Hoffman's character. It truly is tragic what happens to him. But, on the second viewing, I really could tell how impulsive the character was, and that's what condemns him at the film's close. The oft-misheard line at the end is: "I'm gonna get caught." He knows that he is done, and is letting Teresa Russell's character off so that she isn't with him when that happens. It is heartbreaking. I especially have little sympathy for criminals, especially in organized crime movies. So, the fact that I feel for Hoffman's character is rare for me. But, this film makes that happen, and impressively so!
(END SPOILERS)

All in all, a great movie. It doesn't at all matter that it was made in the 1970's. You really won't think about that for more than a few minutes, at most.

Highly recommended!
January 8, 2016
good slice of 70's cinema
January 7, 2016
If all Hoffman performances fought to the death, this one would stand atop the dead.
November 20, 2015
Very enjoyable. Will recommend, I'm sure some Hoffman fans haven't seen this specific character played by the actor. Different but fits well.
½ May 18, 2015
Despite some signs of muddle and uncertainty (Ulu Grosbard replaced Dustin Hoffman as director during the shooting), this is a surprisingly strong picture about a convict (Hoffman) on parole in LA learning what the supposedly "normal" world is all about.
April 3, 2015
First time I watched the movie I had mixed feelings about it, mostly because of the unusual acting. Both Max and Jenny are very intense and passionate characters, but at the same time they seem indifferent and almost bored. They don't open up very much. Most scenes they're just looking at each other and having small talk. But I've come to appreciate the film for what it is. I see them as two people who both have mental issues in some way and they're trying to connect with each other but they don't know how. Jenny wants to show Max that she loves him, but she's the Tomboy type of girl and doesn't express her feelings much. This is highlighted most in the sex scene, which is intimate but at the same time very withdrawn and distant. Max at times reminded me of Hoffman's performance in Rain Man. Very monotone and anxious, but also very calm. Just about everything in this movie represents two extremes. It's a very laid back love story mixed with glorifying a criminal lifestyle. The movie is more authentic because it doesn't know what it wants to be. It's definitely an oddity in Hoffman's filmography. And I have to say the scene when he handcuffs buddy to the fence on the freeway was the funniest thing I've seen in a while. He definitely had it coming and it was glorious.
May 18, 2014
One of the lost gems of the 70s. Brilliant and revealing character study on a ex-convict. Dustin Hoffman gives one of his finest performances. This is a perfect example of why 70s filmmaking rocked. It also happens to be just as relevant today as it did then. (Michael Mann helped write the script).
½ April 2, 2014
Gritty 70s crime flick.
April 1, 2014
Searing Character Study...Not To Be Missed
½ February 19, 2014
How has nobody seen this film!? Unbelievably underrated film with incredible performances from Hoffman, Busey, Stanton, and Walsh.
December 19, 2013
I've never been a big Hoffman fan. Outside of 'Rain Man,' whenever I find a decent Hoffman film, I always end up thinking the same thing - Pacino could have done it better.
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