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Tommy Lee Jones,
Vietnam veteran Ray Hicks gets conned into helping his buddy John Converse smuggle some heroin, only to wind up on the lam with John's wife when the deal goes sour. Written by
Alan Sepinwall <email@example.com>
Lacking the iconoclasm of Robert Stone's memorably harrowing novel, this film strips away the 60s demythologising that made the book so compelling to leave a nonetheless excellent thriller. Michael Moriarty is perfect as the distant, nervous Converse and Nolte also gives a good account of himself. Charles Haid and Richard Masur stand out amongst well realised supporting roles; however Tuesday Weld is woefully miscast and wholly unconvincing as Converse's wife Marge, here played as far too much the suburbanite; likewise Gail Strickland's thankfully brief turn as a two faced hippie drug dealer.
Stone is co-credited with the screenplay which wisely keeps some of the best dialogue of the novel (sample: Converse to Hicks on picking up a well thumbed volume of Nietzsche: "You still into this s**t?" Hicks: "Yeah." Converse: "Jesus. That's really f**king piquant.").
Unaccountably this film was a box office failiure and has passed into obscurity: it regularly pops up at boot sales and the like so has been slowly gaining a cult reputation over the last decade. it is well worth picking up, though reading the book first is certainly recommended.
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