|Index||3 reviews in total|
Sissy Spacek and the others put on fine performances in this cheap production from a maudlin and unbelievable script. The husband of a cop-killer's sweetheart is able to visit the convict on death row the night before the execution? Give me a break! Sissy doesn't buy her ex-boyfriend's guilt, but does nothing to try to right such a terrible situation? Please. The real problem, though is that this made-for-tv formula flick is another example of Hollywood's trampling of the image of Vietnam veterans. The "damaged-vet-ticking-time-bomb" stereotype is not only an easy cliché, it's also a gross overstatement of the facts. No denying some veterans of Vietnam -- as of all wars -- suffered psychological effects, but when has Hollywood portrayed the 'Nam veteran as anything but a broken, emotionally troubled pariah? Movies like "Beyond the Call" contribute to the general public perception that Vietnam veterans are on the whole dysfunctional -- suicidal, alcoholic, barely able to hang on to their sanity. It's not enough that the cop-killer is a damaged Viet vet but -- surprise, surprise -- Sissy's own husband (the only character who doubts the boyfriends "Vietnam-made-him-do-it" excuse) carries his own war demons. The movie closes with Hubby curled up on the floor, crying his eyes out, comforted by Sissy the Strong. Another ticking time bomb has exploded. I guess all of us Vietnam veterans will eventually have nervous breakdowns or take refuge in a bottle. Me, I think I'll have a drink.
"Beyond The Call" is a good example of how strong, committed actors can
mileage out of a script that is both hackneyed and occasionally
Sissy Spacek and the terrific David Strathairn are both in top form as a psychologically damaged Vietnam veteran on death row for the killing of a policeman, and the woman who tries to get him to plea for clemency and finds out that there's more to the "killing" than meets the eye.
Arliss Howard is also fine as her increasingly jealous husband, a Vietnam vet himself who has put much emotional energy keeping his war-related emotions under control, and feels nothing but contempt for a fellow vet who becomes a convicted criminal because he can't do the same. Yet this husband isn't quite the same by the time the film is over.
Despite these performances, the script is generally predictable and many of the scenes between Spacek and Strathairn would be mawkish in lesser hands. But these two are so attuned to each other as performers that you are moved nonetheless. The once big false note is a scene between Strathairn and Howard that may be necessary to bring about the desired changes in Howard's character, but it's completely unbelievable.
This is truly a gem of a movie and should be seen by all who love a great story and superb acting. At first glance you may be turned off by the idea of a man on death row for killing a cop. You may not understand how Sissy Spaceks character can have any compassion towards her ex boyfriend after what has happened. When i first viewed this movie i had a friend who had walked in late on this movie & initially couldn't understand why someone had told him this was worth seeing. Well towards the end of the movie in the seen with the last phone call. My friend actually got so choked up he couldn't help but to let out a slight whimper and say ouch. Can't say i was doing any better... glad it was dark. So all in all it's a truly heartfelt movie and a must see for anyone who is not afraid to shed a tear. Guys i recommend not watching this with a buddy because it will get you. If it doesn't choke you up, check your pulse... you might be dead!!
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