Alex Cutter (Heard) came back from war minus an eye, a leg, and an arm and mad as hell. He lacks direction, drinks too much, and abuses his wife (Eichhorn). One night his friend Richard Bone (Bridges) witnesses someone dumping something in an alley; it turns out to be the body of a young girl. When Cutter hears about it, he embarks on a crusade to expose the killer, enlisting the help of the murdered girl's sister. Bone reluctantly joins them. Are they right or are they in search of their white whale? Written by
A hauntingly beautiful portrayal of cynicism and the pathetic human condition
I stumbled upon this movie at the Nickelodeon on Cape Cod the year of its release...at a time when VCR's and DVD's weren't a part of our culture...when you had to travel to obscure and far-out theaters to see obscure and far-out films during the fading window of opportunity offered as its limited run at the movie house. What a gem. I was instantly riveted by the story and the classic performances that brought it to life. The pathetic human condition personified in Cutter, Bone, and Mo is so exquisitely rendered as to be tragic...only salvaged by the clear-eyed wit and insight of John Heard's Cutter and the tempered and logical cynicism and indifference offered up by Bone(Jeff Bridges)as the balance that only these begrudging friends could provide each other. Lisa Eichorn's character(Mo) exhibits equal measures of the qualities both her male couterparts have and her subtle performance points up the conflict she feels in simultaneously rejecting and craving their opposing energies. The scene where she chews them both out for their selfish and naive plot and their spirited responses seems to spill from their beings as genuine emotion...not written dialogue...and it still sends chills through me...very powerful...and the scene where she is made painfully aware of Bone's incurable drive to bed women as she falls prey to his momentary sympathies ..when coupled with her husband's(Cutter) inability to give a soft refuge to her is so tragically realistic...tears flow. Everyone's shortcoming's cross-up everyone else's and as the surrealistic climax develops its symbolism and power are Shakespearian. This movie works as a crime thriller, a portrait of the underbelly of American culture most evidenced in its loss of confidence and embrace of cynicism that came to the surface post-Vietnam...but most successfully as a great character-driven love story and tragedy.
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