viernes, 19 de febrero de 2010

Rolling Thunder

William DeVane plays Charles Rane, a Vietnam veteran who has spent the last years of his life being tortured every day in a prison in the jungles of Hanoi. But all that’s over, since he’s returning home with his friend Johnny (Tommy Lee Jones) and returning to his girl and son. But Charles finds civilian life hard to return to, being unable to get some sleep, showing little emotion, and worst of all, his girl has fallen in love with another man. All he cares about is his son, and even that is taken away from him when a group of robbers enter his home and torture and mutilate him over a suitcase of silver dollars he was awarded for his services. The robbers kill his family and leave him for dead, but he recuperates pretty quickly, even if he has to use a hook for a hand now. But that’s not the end of it for Charlie, as now he’s going on a manhunt, to capture the men who killed his girl and son, a manhunt that takes him to El Paso, Texas. Joined by his friend Johnny, they’re going to make them suckers pay in a very bloody way.

This film was written by Paul Schraeder, the same man who gave us the excellent script for my favorite movie, Taxi Driver, and would direct films like Hardcore. You can see in this film many of the themes that would pop up around Taxi Driver, from the protagonist who’s a disgruntled, insomniac Vietnam vet and his quest for vigilante justice, to the way he views his world around him as ugly and rotten. William DeVane is no Robert Deniro, but he’s still a pretty good actor and is able to make the character of Charlie as a very realistic Vietnam veteran. Many people might see this movie and think he’s being wooden and uncharismatic, but that’s the point. As the son of a Vietnam vet and grandson of a WWII vet, I can tell you that war kills emotions, and DeVane’s lack of display of them works perfect for his character. Tommy Lee Jones is also great in this film, even in this being one of his early roles. He’s also the quiet type, but he really comes alive during the ending’s vengeance sequence, as he smiles and giggles at the process of going into battle. I also have to give credit to the beautiful Linda Haynes, who is able to carry the role of the girl who loves Charlie very well. She’s really the emotional heart of the movie, considering how much macho stuff is going on. It’s too bad she retired in 1980 to become a legal secretary, she had a lot of talent and it’s on full display here.

Sadly, this film has ssome flaws that I have to address, mainly the character of Cliff (Lawrason Driscoll). He’s the cop who wants to marry Charlie’s old girl. Just by what he did, you don’t like the fucker one bit, and the fact that screen time is taken out to force us to watch this guy hunt down Charlie and then get shot down by the same people Charlie is trying to kill makes you wonder what the fucking point was with that subplot. Thankfully the rest of the film is damn near flawless. John Flynn, who is famous for doing great thrillers like The Outfit, does a great job and the end sequence, where our two leads go into vengeance mode with shotguns into a hotel, is fucking awesome. You REALLY want tos ee these guys get it. I can’t help but think again to Taxi Driver, which has a similar ending, and while I don’t consider this to be as good as Taxi Driver, it’s still pretty up there. Hell, even Quentin Tarantino agrees with me, he named one of his distribution companies after it. So check this movie out, it has everything a revenge thriller should have, and it’s a near-perfect film.

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