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Search and Destroy
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Reviews & Ratings for
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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A great movie that somehow slipped under everyones radar.

Author: kodak007 from New Amsterdam
14 March 2007

Greetings to the rare few who have sought out this title on IMDb, and the rarer few who have chosen to read my little rant. Hope it sits well with you....

I have to say that this movie is one of the rare pieces of film that shows what can be accomplished with no money at all, or little money.

Scene to scene, moment to moment, it is the essence of what a "low budget movie" can accomplish, it does not wallow in what it cant do, and focuses on what it needs to do, to tell a story. There are moments in it, where you totally don't realize how little it took to create the scene, and its because your lost in the story, and thats what gives the film so much strength.

True enough, if you have the cast this film has, you can do little wrong. But its great to see that each member does their part, and keeps up with the story, and makes it all seamless.

The travel scene to NYC with Douglas and Dunn is a perfect example of what can be accomplished with creative thinking and attention to character. without a airport being shut down to accommodate a production schedule that is based more on ego than need.

There are moments of sheer perfection in this film that i, as a avid lover of film and movies have rarely seen. for over ten years now i have proudly listed this film in my top favorites, as its eccentricities grow more and more lovely upon each watching.

The arc is there, and so is the commitment to the ideas that it presents almost immediately as its thesis. Waxling is the truth sayer in this piece of fiction, and he lets you know right away what to expect.

i remember being up late, watching HBO, High, Bored, and finding this film. It was a huge factor in my interest in film school. The tone is unmatched in my opinion. As it is a complete work, not quirky for the sake of it, as so many other movies rely on... but quirky due to the fact that life is quirky, off, odd.

You can be what you want, you can do what you want, this movie sums that up in a rare way that i have not often seen, and i appreciate upon each watching...

Dr Waxlings comments are gold. All and all i am proud to be in the small group of people that promote this film to no advantage of self, as it addresses many of the same issues that other films like Fight Club go in to in a more serious, bigger budget way.

Check it out. Break out your VHS player, and be ready to want to rewind and see it again.

Really a gem in the wild.

Boo Ya!

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

An Amazing Surprise!

Author: joelmeggs from Fredericton, Canada
4 January 2005

This movie is incredible. It's got fantastic dialog and terrific performances from Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper. That it was originally for the stage is pretty obvious; it just has that feel to it. But so did Glengarry Glen Ross, and that too was a terrific movie.

I don't know if the film is really any sort of meaningful commentary on modern life. I think maybe it tries. The whole thing centers around an infomercial for an adventure story that's a metaphor for self-improvement/self-discovery a la Celestine Prophecy. Mostly it's just about weird characters in weird situations and excellent dialog.

I can't say enough good things about this movie. Anyone who has a taste for weird, black-comedy is going adore this film. 8.5 out of 10.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Misunderstood masterpiece

Author: Matt from Chicago
19 September 2006

This is a gem that is lost amongst the crap that came out in the mid nineties American cinema. The first time I saw this film I thought that it was bizarre, yet in some odd way compelling. I have since seen it seven or eight more times and it gets better each time. The humor is dark and unconventional, and the dialog is odd in that it is difficult to determine whether or not its meant to be funny or is simply poor writing, I still have not figured that out which is probably one of the reasons I love this film.

The cast is of course outstanding, which is why I first rented this film knowing nothing about it. It must have had a very short theater shelf life. Dennis Hopper, Ethan Hawke and produced by Martin Scorcese, how could you go wrong? But the truly outstanding performance, and the majority of the quotable lines are spoken by Christopher Walken. His characters name is Kim Ulander, classic, and walken does what walken does best in this role, he plays a psychopath. See this film, and see it again and again and again.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

offbeat, funny, quirky gem

Author: vincent-27 from guelph, canada
10 March 1999

Great movie, probably one my favorites, although I'm not sure why. Technically, it's pretty sloppy but I just love the cast, the crazy rapid-fire delivery of Turturo, the eerie deadpan Walken, the manic Dunne. Griffin Dunne performs a souped reprise of his role in "After Hours", although he overacts at times, he has the desperate loser role down pat. The movie title, to me, is about searching for what you love and then destroying it, something most of us seem to do over and over again. I like this movie more and more each time I see it, although the sloppiness bugs me increasingly as well. There is a message here about the dangers of pop psychology and new age mantras, but muddled among the nonsense sayings there are some meaningful comments. My favorite is the observation that "We are afraid of change, we are lazy and we are addicted to our pain". How true....

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Movie Making the Easy Way

Author: Chris (cvanepps) from Raleigh, NC
22 March 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

DETAILED PLOT SUMMARY AND SPOILERS (if that's possible for a 1995 movie)

The first time I saw Search and Destroy, I disliked it. I thought it was trying to jump on the Pulp Fiction bandwagon by putting words like "off-beat" and "eccentric" on the video cover. Then I thought about what I'd seen and it truly affected me the way the lead character in the film is affected by a certain book he reads.

His name is Martin Mirkheim, played brilliantly by Griffin Dunne, and he is a truly unique film character in that he believes in himself. He truly believes in the power of himself and his ability to create dynamic change within a static environment. It is exciting to watch the process of each of his failures and successes.

The book that inspires him is similar to a Dianetics type of book but without the cult-like following that Scientology implies. The book is about a child who goes on an adventure to find his strengths, test & eliminate his weaknesses, and learn about the world the way it really is. Most importantly, having learned about the world the child now can understand his place in the world and how he can initiate change.

The author, Dr. Luther Waxling, played by Dennis Hopper, is a down & out cable access show host who wrote the book many years ago in his glory. Back then, Waxling may have believed in himself but now he just wants to make money through his TV show and from his self-improvement classes. At that point in the movie, I figured I had the plot down: Martin was going to show Waxling where he went wrong. You know; the ol' student-teaches-the-teacher gag (yawwn) but I was glad to be wrong.

Instead, Martin wants to buy the rights to Waxling's book and make a movie out of it but Martin doesn't have any money to give him. Martin calls Kim Ulander, played by Christopher Walken, whom he met earlier at a party. Walken is the type of actor who doesn't get bothered at the fact that he's typecast as the wacko. Walken has accepted it and I think at this point in his life he embraces it. And what a wacko he plays. There's one scene where he's in a kareoke bar and he performs a lounge song that made me want to slit my wrists. Martin and his assistant Marie, played by Illeanna Douglass, hook up with Kim. Together they try to raise capital to buy the rights to the book.

Martin's journey to reach his goal mirrors what's portrayed in the Waxling book but that's the obvious side. There is a second variable that makes it more interesting: Walken. Walken's character, Kim, has read the book too. Kim is also a big Waxling fan but he has interpreted the book's message a little more literally than Martin. Kim is a businessman who's tired of the rat race; he wants to test his strengths in a different venue. With each new conflict we get two different reactions; Martin's and Kim's. The interaction between these two characters is what makes the movie shine to the very end.

Watching Search and Destroy is a bit like sitting through one of those inspirational seminars. At the beginning, you're convinced you won't enjoy it and that it's all a sham. At the end, you're ready to inspire others.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A quirky, dark satire

Author: CandyR from North Carolina, USA
13 September 1998

This movie seemed to be a snowballing sequence of mishaps - similar to what happens in "After Hours" from 1985. Things keep getting worse for the main character, but it kept me intrigued. Dennis Hopper is an interesting character in this one. As usual, Chris Walken steals the show as a business man and somewhat "off-kilter" character who enjoys an evening of Karaoke. I would recommend it to people who enjoy strange movies. Personally, I enjoyed it.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Where's Salle?

Author: (farararaf) from United States
20 September 2006

Why the hell has David Salle never done another movie? He got famous as a painter back in the 80s and, like his contemporary, Julian Schnabel, got signed on to direct a film with a great cast and decent distribution. Unlike Schnabel, he's not overrated (as a painter or director).

You might expect tedium and pomposity from an artist-director, but that's certainly not the case here. This movie is as fun as a trip to Coney Island!

This is a really nice ensemble comedy with surprises lurking around every turn. If you're a fan of Illeana Douglas, John Turturro, or Christopher Walken, this is certainly not to be missed.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

One Of Walken's Best

Author: tzer0 from The World Of Tomorrow
13 July 2004

This is indeed a quirky movie, so Walken is clearly in his element. Griffen Dunne does seem like he's playing the same character in After Hours, only he has fallen on hard times. Dennis Hopper's character, Dunne thinks, holds the key to a brighter future, but only if he can raise the money to turn Hopper's book into a film. That's where Walken's character comes in. But he doesn't want to give him the money directly. He's read Hopper's book too, and wants to help Dunne empower himself, by finding a deal that can help Dunne raise the money, which is where Taturo character comes in. Taturo is a perfect foil for Walken's laid back style. He's no Barton Fink here, but just as weird. If quirky comedies that chug there way over the top are your thing, this movie is for you!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An artistic effort outside competition

Author: schwitzo from Croatia
21 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Scene in the car:

"Ron: If i may be so bold, what birthday is it? Marie: Thirty. Ron: Spring chicken. Listen, have you noticed. Listen, the older you get, the faster time moves..."

Learned this 15 years too late. Something that should be thought in grade school before any mention of sciences. This movie is full of really quotable material, but its used merely as the background for the story, as so many other expression forms i have only come to see reasonably applied in this particular movie.

In my opinion, the stories backbone is made of the relationship between the two characters Martin and Kim, as mentioned in another comment both have read the famous "Daniel Strong" book and have been inspired by it. The turning part of the story is the moment where the dedicated personality beats the superficial one. The strong Martin kills Kim who just bit off more then he could chew.

It is this for that i think the performance of both Dunne and Walken can not be compared, nor could they have been more appropriate for this purpose. If the perception of Matrin was portrayed just a little bit stronger, or the Kim figure any less decisive and spontaneous, this turn of sides (fate) could not have been pointed out to the perfection to which it finally was.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

best movie ever

Author: kmlewis-1 from Australia
2 September 2006

this movie is great. Walkens best performance ever.hopper is's flawless. not a bad scene in it.levels upon levels.the more you watch it the more you get from it.iv'e seen it over ten times and have never fast forward in any parts. Griffin Dunne should have won an Oscar he is brilliant. Also John Turturro is hilarious.great great great this movie should be huge.I wish David Salle would make another movie.i love the way its directed. when Walken, Dougless, and Dunne are sitting at the table in the restaurant a different color comes up behind them i love that.and when Dunne is running and they repeat it over and over i love that.

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