A big-city reporter between jobs is traveling with his wife through a small Ozarks town and gets a lead on a bank robbery. He tracks down the brutal gang that committed the robbery, only to... See full summary »
A big-city reporter between jobs is traveling with his wife through a small Ozarks town and gets a lead on a bank robbery. He tracks down the brutal gang that committed the robbery, only to discover that they are something of a source of pride to the locals. His hopes of getting back into the big time with this story are dashed when his "interview" with the gang leader goes awry and he and his wife find themselves hostages. Written by
Unusual. Despite pacing problems and pockets of clumsy dialogue, it has some good insights into the criminal mind as well as the minds of those who feel the need to mythologize outlaws that literally get away with murder. It's bolstered by a wise, unsentimental performance from Jay C. Flippen as a hard-nosed con rolling the dice one last time, and Paul Richards' strange turn as a neurotic, scarily unpredictable gunman. (He is involved in a bizarre, never-saw-it-coming act of violence about half way in that really gets your attention - to put it mildly.) Leslie Nielsen is fine as the out of work newspaperman desperate for a good story, but Colleen Miller is barely adequate as his new bride. You never buy that she would marry someone without a job, nor can you accept his decision to stir things up with the locals on their honeymoon so soon, especially in her presence. She comes across as mystifyingly accepting of the situation, and at times seems to be in some kind of a trance-like state.
But its strengths outweigh its flaws. The script is gutty and resourceful and the director, David Friedkin, creates a sense of real isolation, a feeling that this small, dingy town isn't so much a whole different planet as much as it is a kind of black hole. If you ever get caught in it, you can be sure you'll have a devil of a time getting out. Good suspense and an exciting finish. Always fun to uncover curious little efforts like this. Definite cult possibilities.
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