The Pickering Commission concluded that a lone gunman killed US President Kegan in 1960, in Philadelphia. 19 years later a dying man confesses to be the real shooter hired to kill him. Kegan's brother and filthy rich father investigate.
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
According to Allmovie, "The film was fortunate to fall into the hands of United Artists Classics, a new division of the company crippled by the financial disaster of Heaven's Gate (1980). UA Classics adroitly marketed Cutter's Way, riding a wave of rave reviews and good word-of-mouth among more discriminating filmgoers to modest box-office success". Jeff Bridges starred in both movies. See more »
When Alex Cutter is charging across the estate on a horse, his missing arm changes sides briefly. See more »
Sooner or later you're going to have to make a decision about something.
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Cutter's Way cannot be overpraised. This movie is a masterpiece of the first order. Ivan Passer, a compatriot of Milos Forman, came to the USA as an experienced Czech movie director. Not unlike Alfred Hitchcock or some German directors 30 years before him, he seems to have made a thorough analysis of the American social conditions and general manners. He then transformed his findings into movies. Two of them I know deal with New York. They are appropriately gritty. The setting of Cutter's way is a Californian beach community for the rich and beautiful and the movie is appropriately glossy. The whole story takes place in those paradisiac locales. They are presented like an enchanted kingdom, a country of its own.
Under the glossy surface, there is a darker side to the place. There is prostitution, drug abuse and murder. Cutter, living on the fringes of the enchanted kingdom, sees that more clearly than everyone else. He has his own code of chivalry by which he wants to live. He develops conspirational theories and strains to convert them into hard facts. The world around him, populated by indifferent, amoral rich and beautiful people, does not understand him, does not even want to listen, laughs at him. So Cutter mounts a white stallion and rides a charge.
Repeatedly the film slips into surrealistic situations, in which the impression made on the viewers is more relevant than the storyline. This technique was well known in the forties (e.g. in film noir), present day audience are less used to it. In the earlier days of film making, surrealism was created on a soundstage, and the change between reality and "dream" became immediately clear. Passer uses real locations for situations removed from reality a daring experiment that rewards the viewers with hauntingly beautiful pictures but might also confuse many. The director took this risk and we are rewarded with a magnificent picture about a distinguished slice of America. I predict: Cutters way will one day become an honored classic.
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