Lili Fini Zanuck; screenwriters: Pete Dexter/novel by
Kim Wozencraft; cinematographer: Ken MacMillan; editor:
Mark Warner; music: Eric Clapton; cast: Jason Patric
(Jim Raynor), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Kristen Cates), Sam
Elliott (Larry Dodd), Max Perlich (Walker), Gregg Allman
(Will Gaines), Special K McCray (Willie Red), William Sadler (Monroe), Tony Frank (Chief Donald Nettle); Runtime: 120;
MPAA Rating: R; producer: Richard D. Zanuck; MGM Home
"Though well-acted, well-written and well-directed, it's still an unpleasant watch that never gets beyond being routine."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Lili Fini Zanuck (co-produced "Driving Miss
her husband Richard) competently
presents a seedy and
violent scenario involving opposite sex narc partners
operating a drug bust in 1970s rural Texas and
becoming romantically involved and succumbing to the
drugs to the point they become addicts. It's based on
semi-autobiographical novel by Kim
Wozencraft, a former undercover drug agent, and is
sharply written in a gritty style by Pete
Dexter. Though well-acted, well-written and
well-directed, it's still an unpleasant watch that
never gets beyond being routine.
Kristen Cates (Jennifer
Jason Leigh) is a naive idealistic rookie Texas police
officer recruited by hardened Sgt. Jim Raynor (Jason Patric)
to partner with him to
infiltrate the drug ring operated by the violent nightclub owner Will Gaines (Gregg Allman).
Their bosses, Larry Dodd (Sam Elliott)
and Donald Nettle (Tony Frank), are under pressure
to put Gaines in prison because he has hooked on
drugs the daughter of a prominent local citizen.
Kristen doesn't realize that to be convincing she
has to take the drugs, something not taught at the
police academy. Jim, already a user, acts as her
mentor. The narcs to keep their cover become strung
out on drugs and only crack the drug ring when they
pressure petty car thief Walker (Max Perlich) to
be their snitch on Gaines.
Ms. Zanuck gets the
atmosphere right but never can make the bleak story
dramatic or any of the characters sympathetic, as in
the end its frontier justice resolution only left me
feeling cold and still wondering how ethical it is
for undercover cops to use the drugs they are trying
to get off the street and that their arrests are
based on entrapping suspects.
REVIEWED ON 7/6/2012 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ