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John Heard came back from the war minus an eye, a leg and an arm. He drinks a lot and abuses his wife, who also drinks a lot. Jeff Bridges is a friend who witnesses a murder. From this point John is "after" the killer, along side the diseased sister, while Jeff doesn't really want to get involved in it. Written by
not really "underrated" but more like ignored. This movie is very good.
A friend of mine gave me the novel Cutter and Bone (AKA Cutter's Way) was based on, so that immediately creates a problem, comparing two different art forms.
Forget the novel (by the obscure Newton Thornburg) for this purpose only. The movie is a moving meditation on power, desperation, and paranoia. It is also a great love story.
I always end up writing "...you've read the other comments so you know what this is about" but Cutter and Bone is so many things, it cannot be pinned down easily.
As noted in the favorable reviews here, this is chock full of great film acting that moves the story along as well as making come alive. Who was the clueless shmoe who said "nothing happens"? What movie was he watching?
Adrift in post-Vietnam America, Cutter finally finds something in life that has meaning; the murder of a young hitchhiker.
But any meaning is too much for the damaged Cutter who becomes relentless in the pursuit of a possible killer who also is of the wealthy, powerful elite that sent OPS (other people's sons) to Vietnam. Cutter finally has a genuine target ("he's not anyone Rich, he's RESPONSIBLE" says Cutter to Richard Bone in a great line delivery by John Heard) for his unfocused righteous anger.
Bone tries to sabotage the investigation but ends up buying in at the very end. Why? He has the rage also, as did many Americans who weren't politically active, did not serve in Vietnam. It's a rage that infected a nation with guilt, self-doubt, and eventually, a new hubris, a kind of "never again" attitude toward "less developed" nations that has us yet again on the brink of yet another war in a series of wars that seem to never end and we hardly even notice anymore (remember Grenada? Bombing Tripoli and Benghazi? proxy armies in Nicaragua and El Salvador, etc.?)
The other part of Cutter and Bone is a love triangle and a very well explicated one at that. Cutter and Bone both love Mo who can't love herself. Bone is not as shallow as he appears and it scares him. Cutter is too damaged and angry to love her enough until she is gone.
I've known these people in one way or another, and that is why this movie has always meant so much to me. It is also about a great country I used to live in that began to disappear about the time this movie is set, and has since metamorphosed into a large wounded, angry monster, bereft of the tears for near-paradise lost that this excellent movie depicts.
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