Prime Cut (1972) 3.43/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 74.7
Genre: Action, Crime
Duration: 88 mins
Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Sissy Spacek

“He’s the expert from Chicago. I heard people talking.” Michael Ritchie’s gritty quasi-satire is as hard nosed as 70′s cinema got and it’s not difficult to see why with Lee Marvin playing the enforcer sent by the Chicago mob to deal with fearless and loathsome cattle rancher Gene Hackman in Kansas City. This is a film which plays by its own rules right from the beginning as we see Hackman’s henchman turning the mob’s previous enforcer into sausage before sending him back up to Chicago. Marvin is steel (as usual) in the main role as Devlin but with the calm intelligence of a man who knows how to get things done. Hackman is just plain disturbing as the sadistic Mary Ann who treats women like cattle (literally) while Sissy Spacek scores well as one such woman who latches on to Marvin for help. Ritchie brings it all together with a thunderous punch so successfully in fact that there are definite shades of Prime Cut in later masterpieces such as Reservoir Dogs. The pace drops at points as Ritchie doesn’t always find the right balance between paradoy and hard edged action but for the most part Prime Cut is vintage stuff.

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