In-the-Line-of-Fire-e1363669284339

In the Line of Fire (1993) 4/5 (2)
4/52

 

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Rating: The Good – 77.7
Genre: Thriller
Duration: 128 mins
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo

Superb thriller in which an ageing secret service agent and former bodyguard to JFK is taunted by a skilled but unhinged assassin as he puts into practice his plan to kill the current President. Several factors contribute to the success of this movie, from the quality of its cast to the tense set pieces. However, chief among them is Jeff Maguire’s taut, often witty screenplay and Clint Eastwood’s central turn. Typically better in quieter roles, Eastwood shines her as the strict old pro with a wicked sense of humour. In fact, outside of Unforgiven (made only a year earlier), In the Line of Fire is arguably his strongest overall performance across his career. Full of smart ass charm and gnarly wiles, he sets the stage for a great showdown with nasty John Malkovich who revels in the role of the aggrieved assassin. A game of mental chess ensues, played out over the telephone wires and the trail of clues the latter intentionally and unintentionally leaves behind. Renne Russo as a bemused female agent and inevitable love interest and John Mahoney as the Director of the Secret Service bolster this central dynamic and several high tension sequences interspersed throughout offer balance to the verbal drama. Director Wolfgang Peterson shows a deft hand during these sequences but one wonders what a more visually astute director would’ve made of the potentially much darker subject matter. As it stands, In the Line of Fire is strong on entertainment but perhaps a little light on mood given the rich psychological ground it ploughs. But the former is delivered in such accomplished manner, it’s of minor consideration and watching Clint sparring with Malkovich and Russo and getting as good as he gives is enough of a treat.

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