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The host of an investigative news show is convinced by the CIA that the friends he has invited to a weekend in the country are engaged in a conspiracy that threatens national security in this adaptation of the Robert Ludlum novel. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
It was almost inevitable, given the up-and-down life of Sam Peckinpah, that his final film would be dreadful. Having put so much into classics like The Wild Bunch, Ride the High Country, Straw Dogs and Cross of Iron, his final few films were simple hack jobs made purely for money. He made the routine The Killer Elite; the weak Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia; but with The Osterman Weekend he finally hit rock bottom with the very worst movie of his illustrious career.
What's worst of all is that the plot sounds pretty good on paper. A TV presenter who has regular weekend parties with his friends learns that they may be Russian spies. A government agency persuades him to hold a party as usual, but with cameras planted everywhere to find out what they're up to. This being a Peckinpah film, needless to say the plan goes awry and all kinds of bloodthirsty mayhem ensues.
The cast is mouth watering. Rutger Hauer, Burt Lancaster, John Hurt, Dennis Hopper, Chris Sarandon and Craig T. Nelson all have big roles in the film. But what truly wrecks it is the terribly muddled and uninvolving script. What the hell is going on at the end of this movie? Who was up to what and why? Who was really spying on who? Were the good guys really the good guys, or not? The actors certainly don't seem able to tell and just amble by with a confused expression on their face; even Peckinpah the director seems unable to clarify it so he just sticks in one loud set piece after another in the hope that no-one will notice. In the end, The Osterman Weekend is a huge, disappointing mess and it marks a truly unworthy swansong for one of the finest directors of his time.
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