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Reviews & Ratings for
Switchback More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Tense and Exciting but Wants Characters Who Express

Author: orglit1 from Long Island, New York
23 January 2008

Viewers keep trying to predict the action based on scant information about characters. Thus, the story is tense and exciting. From early on, a question is Why is FBI Agent Frank LaCrosse (Dennis Quaid) so determined to find this culprit? At the same time, another question is Why does the serial killer do any of that? And there are other questions at the same time.

But, of course, no murders need to take place in a story for multiple questions, and suspense, to occur -- this genre is not to my taste. It's unrealistic, or else cynical. However, given the story's assumptions, there is a lot of suspenseful questioning in the viewer's mind, some of which is satisfactorily resolved.

It is never clear what could be motivating murderer Bob Goodall (Danny Glover) to do any of this, as there are many games to play, and as Goodall as portrayed by Glover seems to be a well-humored type. Glover's performance is not convincing; with all the pals he has around there, he would have been better as a policeman.

It is resolved why LaCrosse is after Goodall with determination -- pretty much what one guessed. But he is too remote from his relationship with his son. When he reveals this motive to the sheriff after the sheriff has elaborated upon the dinner he prepared, there is more interest in whether he will sit down and eat it than in what he tells about his son. Maybe he didn't even like his son, or maybe he wished he had spent more time with him -- but we get nothing more than a defined relationship and an inevitable act of paternal duty. Maybe LaCrosse just likes adventure -- chasing a train in his car, and physical challenges like that.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Despite all the potential, this movie didn't always do it for me

Author: Philip Van der Veken from Tessenderlo, Belgium
13 July 2005

I love mystery thrillers more than almost any other movie genre, but so often the problem with this kind of movies is that the writers can't keep up the tension from beginning until the end and that's exactly what you need to stay focused and to believe these stories. Too often they give away some vital clues, spoiling all your fun and turning an entire movie into some cheap pulp for the popcorn munching, almost brain dead viewer. A good example of such a movie is "Along Came a Spider" with Morgan Freeman, but there are many more movies like that. Knowing this, I had certain reservations about this movie, but I decided to give it a try, hoping for a surprise...

A serial killer called Bob Goodall has set a trap for FBI agent Frank LaCross, who was in charge of the task force assigned to catch him. By murdering the babysitter and then kidnapping his young son Andy, he has forced the FBI to take LaCross off the case, because of his personal involvement in it. But LaCross doesn't give up that easily and goes after him on his own and without the help of the Bureau. In the meantime some more gruesome murders are committed. But where they done by Bob himself or was it the lonely and mysterious hitch-hiker that he has picked up alongside the road? Goodall appears to be very well-known and popular in the sleepy Rocky Mountain village where the story unfolds and there is clearly something more about the hitch-hiker than meets the eye...

Despite the fact that this was a very promising script, I never had the feeling that they got the full potential out of it. It's nice to see how they try to use the double story line, but too soon it is all too obvious where everything is going. Most of the tension is gone, leaving you behind with the feeling that you're watching a mediocre action movie. And that's too bad, because this might have been an enjoyable movie. What I did like however was the acting. OK, there is nothing world shocking in the performances, but Danny Glover and Dennis Quaid certainly did a nice job and the other actors were more than OK. It's just not enough to save this movie and that's why I can only give it a 6/10. If you want to see a nice murder story in the snow, you better go for "Fargo" and leave this movie behind.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

1st hour 8/10, 2nd hour 4/10 (spoilerish)

Author: TheOtherFool from The Netherlands
1 July 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Serial killer thriller starts off well and is really exciting for it's first hour or so, but then kinda collapses.

Dennis Quaid is FBI agent Frank LaCrosse, who is in search of a serial killer. This serial killer hasn't been killing for a couple of months, but then starts killing again in the district of Sheriff Buck Olmstead, and him and LaCrosse try to catch him.

That's one side of the story. The nice touch here though comes from the other side, the killer's. You see, we have two men cruising the country (Jared Leto and Danny Glover). One of them is the killer... but who is it?

This set-up works pretty well for the first hour or so, but once we know who the killer is there isn't much to enjoy anymore. In particular because the movie has some side-elements that don't make much sense (I won't bore you with them now, but they include kidnapped sons and an election). The ending really was too much... too bad as it started out so good.

Conclusion: slightly above average, but could've been better: 6/10.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

decent psychological thriller

Author: Real Critic
10 January 2002

Switchback is a decent film, despite what you may have heard. The cast is great, but suffers from a somewhat predictable script. Dennis Quaid is perfect as a relentless FBI agent trying to find his kidnapped son. The film is watchable, but tries(and fails) to keep you guessing before the finale. Nice effort, but the script needed some tweaking. 2/4

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Well conceived movie but can be better

Author: Raymond Tan from Singapore
13 May 2000

Dennis Quaid is his usual pensive and dour self as an FBI agent tracking a serial killer in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. This is not the usual serial killer movie but a slow moving thriller that reveals the identity of the killer two-thirds into the movie. Although's Quaid acting is colourless, it doesn't vitiate the quality of the movie. The storyline is engaging and rest of the cast makes up with their spirited performances, especially Danny Glover, Jared Leto and R. Lee Ermey as the brilliant Sheriff Buck Olmstead. A well conceived movie that on the whole, is watchable but could have been so much better with a faster pace.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Had potential

Author: Cassie from Illinois
12 May 2000

This movie had the potential to be an excellent thriller. Glover and Leto's performance was very good, but Quaid's fell short, he was just plain dull. The scenery was beautiful, which added greatly to the movie, but the ending was very disappointing. Overall I give this movie a 6 out of 10.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

wait a minute...

Author: Lee Eisenberg ( from Portland, Oregon, USA
9 April 2012

I mostly liked "Switchback", but the last half hour or so seemed kind of anticlimactic, as if suddenly the truth gets revealed and then nothing more can happen. Granted, they did have a lot of tricks up to that point, but I still would have preferred a bigger surprise at the end. Nevertheless, Dennis Quaid, Danny Glover, Jared Leto and R. Lee Ermey do well in their roles. I kind of wish that more movies took place in the Rocky Mountains region (the most famous one is "The Shining", but another good one is "Sunshine Cleaning").

Anyway, an OK movie, but I would have preferred a stronger ending.

PS: Maggie Roswell, who plays Fae, is best known as one of the voices on "The Simpsons".

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Danny, Danny, Danny. . .

Author: rlowe30 ( from New Orleans
24 June 2002

This movie is made from the "Thriller" Tinker Toy set. I'll guarantee you it took waaaaay more imagination and creativity to get this dog made than it did to think up the story. Talented actors who must have been desperate for work do their best, but when your best looks this bad in the hands of the makers, how could you help but get discouraged knowing that THIS clunker would be on your film record for the forseeable future? My condolences, Danny Glover, Dennis Quaid, Jared Leto, Lee Emery, and Keith Hatten.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Needs More Training

Author: tedg ( from Virginia Beach
5 April 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers herein.

Pity the poor writer of detective fiction. The nature of the beast is to establish a game of wits between the reader and writer. More recently that has been mirrored in a similar battle of wits between the detective and an archenemy, often a serial killer.

Even more recently a cinematic vocabulary has developed where the killings themselves are supposed to contain clues in this grand battle. Unfortunately in translating to film, the work of detection on the part of the viewer is dropped as Hollywood doesn't like to market films that demand thought.

So the writer must turn to other devices or be left with a disaster like, say `Bone Collector.' `The Pledge' took the genre in one direction and with skill produced a fine film. Here, another direction is attempted with less success.

The device here is that the killer is an appealing fellow who cleverly uses surrogates to divert attention. We briefly are confused by his most recent partner, but way too soon all is made clear.

It is also a tradition with mysteries that some unfamiliar slice of life is employed in the setting and perhaps the clues. Here, the device is the western rail system. although all sorts of possibilities are there to be mined, we are reduced to simple use of fights on a speeding train.

Alas. Great possibilities are ignored all throughout, and we are given cliches: for instance the old cat-jumping-out trick at the beginning and the old spike-through-the-bad-guy at the end.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

More middle of the range beer than cheap whiskey

Author: JoeytheBrit from
17 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Films with meaningless titles are often symptomatic of a similar blandness contained within the films themselves, but Switchback, for the most part, is something of an exception. It tells the story of the hunt for a serial killer by an FBI agent (Quaid) whose young son the killer has kidnapped. Where this aspect of the story alone stands up to only the most arbitrary scrutiny, the way writer-director Jeb Stuart makes us care about the characters involved is what helps set this film apart from many others in this sub-genre. Even the serial killer's fairly likable!

The film is made up of two connected stories: that of the obsessive hunt for the killer (Danny Glover in good ol' boy mode) and the predicament of young hiker Lane (Jared Leto) who has hitched a ride with him against his better judgment (the killer, Goodall, drives a white caddie whose interior is pasted with centrefold pictures). Within seconds of having Goodall drop him off outside some godforsaken bar in the middle of nowhere, however, Lane needs his ride to save him from a bunch of drunken rednecks, and a friendship of sorts is forged.

While the relationship between Lane and Goodall is the more absorbing part of the film, the elements involving Dennis Quaid's tortured agent are as far-fetched and badly devised as they are predictable. Quaid doesn't really do much other than look sullen and relate his story bit by painful bit to sympathetic small-town cop (and mayor) Buck Olmstead (R. Lee Ermey – who, in a far less showy role than Glover's, nearly steals the film from him). The holes in this part of the plot gape wider than a tunnel mouth and almost scupper the entire film but, just when you start to question the likelihood of Glover's roaming killer finding somewhere safe to stash Quaid's kid, Stuart distracts you be serving up an action set piece to throw you off the trail.

The only other real drawback is that Stuart reveals Glover as the killer too early for my liking. The 'is he/isn't he' part of the story should have been the film's strongest card, but it is played too soon. In fact, entire films have been made on such an idea and, given how well Stuart handles this element of the film, it's a shame he didn't concentrate more on this than the missing kid strand.

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