A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.
Robert De Niro,
In New York City, the brother of an infamous Nazi war criminal is killed in a head on collision car accident. Shortly thereafter, members of a covert US government group called "The Division" begin to be murdered one by one. When the brother to one Division member sees his brother knifed to death, it is revealed that former SS dentist Szell, "the White Angel" of Auschwitz, is wrapping up loose ends to smuggle priceless diamonds from the United States. Written by
Anthony Hughes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Doc dies on the floor of Babe's apartment, he has what seems to be a piece of tape stuck to the bottom of his shoe. Then, when he is next shown again with chalk outlines around him, the piece of tape is gone. See more »
[Janeway arrives back at Szell's hideout where Karl and Erhard are waiting; Janeway is revealed as a double agent, which horrifies Babe even more]
[screams to Janeway]
You killed him! You killed him! You killed him! You killed him! You fucking killed him! You killed my brother!
See more »
The end credits scroll with Babe's jogging route as a backdrop. See more »
1970s movies are so cynical, aren't they? Dark, depressing, and often grainy-looking and washed out. "Marathon Man" fits that description. It's good, of course - very good - but it's not exactly a good time. Know what I mean?
William Goldman, one of Hollywood's few celebrity screenwriters, wrote both the original novel and the script for this film version. I find him a bit overrated, but here he does a good job of elevating hack-level thriller material into a sort of art form. The beginning of the film is particularly well-written and intriguing, since it's full of creepy and cryptic events that are not immediately explained. But, alas, I find the ultimate explanation of these events to be rather prosaic and disappointing.
So, I think the movie's strengths lie in the acting and directing, more so than the story. Olivier and Scheider give particularly great performances, and Marthe Keller comes across as appropriately sweet and sexy (her big "secret," though, should be really easy for anyone to guess!) I'm a little less enamored of Dustin Hoffman, whose character is inexplicably nicknamed "Babe." He's just way too old to be a typical graduate student (almost forty years old, to be precise), and he simply doesn't have much charisma to me. Usually I like normal-looking, non-glamorous actors, but somehow Hoffman doesn't float my boat.
Still, it's hard not to sympathize with the poor guy while he's being pursued, beaten, tortured etc. The "dental horror" scene is still quite effective, though it's rather short; I was more impressed by the subsequent chase through the dark streets of NYC. (The city, by the way, looks like a hellish, crime-infested, debris-strewn pit in this movie - like it does in most 1970s productions!)
In the end, "Marathon Man" isn't quite another "French Connection," but it's got more than enough suspense to crush a lot of the dross that infests theaters today. It's worth watching just for the terrifying scene when the bad guys start tearing Hoffman's door off its hinges - it's good stuff.
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