Hard up and with a grudge against insurance companies, Rex Black feigns his death and meets up with his wife and the money in Malaga when things seemed to have quietened down. But when the ... See full summary »
Hard up and with a grudge against insurance companies, Rex Black feigns his death and meets up with his wife and the money in Malaga when things seemed to have quietened down. But when the insurance investigator from the claim also turns up Rex starts a game of cat-and-mouse. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
About midway through, it just loses all sense of direction
"The Ballad of the Running Man" (also called "The Running Man") is a frustrating film. It starts off very well and about midway through, it all seems to fall to pieces. It's a real shame, as the movie hooked me and then just left me hanging.
The film begins with a funeral. Rex has apparently died--leaving a young widow, Stella (Lee Remmick). However, a bit later you learn that Rex (Laurence Harvey) is NOT dead but has been faking it. Why? Because he felt the insurance company had cheated him when he'd been in an accident. In a way, you feel a bit sorry for the couple.
Rex disappears to Spain and has created a whole new identity as a blond Aussie. Stella soon joins him--but they cannot act like husband and wife because they don't want to arouse suspicions. During this time, you see a significant change in Rex. He's really enjoying the high-life and seems ready to perhaps commit insurance fraud again--whereas Stella just wants to settle down some place and live a quiet life. He's a great portrait of a sociopath, that's for sure.
All this is quite interesting. However, what happens next is pretty limp. The same insurance man who paid off on Rex's supposed death just happens to be in Spain and meets up with the grieving widow and her new friend, the Aussie (Rex). It's pretty obvious that he's caught them and yet absolutely nothing happens for the next 30 or so minutes. The three go to dinner, have drinks, go to the beach and a lot of other mundane things. Then, completely out of the blue, Stella sleeps with the insurance man--and you are left very confused wondering as to why she did that. In fact, not understanding folks' motivations becomes a big problem with the film. Because of this, it made me feel like I'd wasted my time watching. It really looks like they'd only written half the script and just decided to wing it in the middle.
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