Straight Time Reviews
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.
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.
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!
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.