EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|CUTTER'S WAY (aka: CUTTER AND BONE) (director: Ivan Passer; screenwriters: Jeffrey Alan Fiskin/based on the novel Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg; cinematographer: Jordan Cronenweth; editor: Caroline Biggerstaff; music: Jack Nitzsche; cast: Jeff Bridges (Richard Bone), John Heard (Alex Cutter), Lisa Eichhorn (Maureen Cutter), Ann Dusenberry (Valerie Duran), Stephen Elliott (J.J. Cord), Nina Van Pallandt (Woman in the Hotel), Arthur Rosenberg (George Swanson), Patricia Donahue (Mrs. Cord); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Paul R. Gurian; MGM Home Entertainment; 1981)|
|"Paranoid crime thriller."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
directs this paranoid crime thriller, his best
that turns out to be much more ambitious than that, as
it points its
finger at American tycoons who rape the country and
start wars for
profit and get away with it without even getting a
because 'it's never their ass on the line' but
always some other
poor schnook's. It's based on
the novel Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg and
unevenly written by Jeffrey
Alan Fiskin. It was panned upon its release, but has
high praise and has become a cult favorite.
It's set in wealthy Santa Barbara, California, where pretty boy beach bum Richard Bone (Jeff Bridges) lives an aimless runaround bachelor's life as a gigolo and lives and pals around with crippled and one-eyed embittered loud-mouth manic boozer Vietnam vet Alex Cutter (John Heard) and his depressed boozer wife Mo Cutter (Lisa Eichhorn). Coming home late one rainy night, Bone's green convertible stalls in a dark alley and he's nearly run over by a guy fleeing the scene in a hurry that he notices is wearing sun glasses. The next morning Bone is questioned by police, as he learns a 17-year-old high school cheerleader was found stuffed in a trash-can after raped and slain in that very same alley. The next day at a fiesta parade, Bone recognizes the driver as fat cat oil tycoon J.J. Cord (Stephen Elliott), who is riding a horse at the parade. But with not enough evidence to go to the police, Cutter becomes obsessed with getting the Velcro tycoon, who has done plenty of dirty things but nothing sticks to him. The crazed Cutter, missing a leg and much in the same way as Melville's Ahab was obsessed with the whale, lives only to catch the symbolic leviathan oil man. The boys team up with the vic's vacuous older sister, Valerie Duran (Ann Dusenberry), and the nutty Cutter cooks up an amateur plan to blackmail Cord and then turn him over to the police. Bone wants no part of this plan, but gets pushed into it as things begin to get out of hand.
An acrimonious film
citizen heroes, nightmares, and unlikely friendships
that shows the
unlikable Cutter using the unlikable Cord as an
opportunity to get back
at the establishment for sending him off to get
crippled in an unjust
war; while the unlikable Bone eventually sees that
getting the goods on
Cord as his chance to wake up from his listless
slumber and to put his
wasted life back together.
As a character study
piece, it sings the blues for a lost generation that
finds the world is
indifferent to those who suffer serious injustices and
are trapped by
their own personal failures. It's onto something, but
connects as it can't get past its sweeping
generalizations about the
rich and the disenfranchised. Yet it's intriguing and
worth a look. Though all the female characters are
the male leads are reduced to being the loveless
casualties of a
society that's perpetually at war.
REVIEWED ON 7/14/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ