A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.
Steve Everett, Oakland Tribune journalist with a passion for women and alcohol, is given the coverage of the upcoming execution of murderer Frank Beachum. His attractive colleague Michelle died in a car accident the night before. Bob Findley, Steve's boss and husband to Steve's current affair, wants him dead and gone as soon as possible. When Steve stumbles across the possibility of Frank Beachum being innocently on death row, Bob feels his time to have come. Now Steve only has a few hours left to prove the innocence of Frank and to be right with this theory, as he definitely will be history if he's not. Written by
Julian Reischl <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Debut feature film as an actress for Dina Eastwood, wife of Clint Eastwood. Eastwood and television journalist Dina Ruiz married in 1996. This was the first of two of Eastwood's films that Dina has appeared, the second being in Blood Work (2002). See more »
Everett drives from Oakland to San Quentin more than once on the same day he takes his daughter to the zoo. Given the traffic conditions in the Bay Area and the 30 miles or so from the Tribune building to the prison and the bureaucratic hassles of visiting a prisoner, the time line becomes highly suspect. See more »
Dr. Roger Waters:
Blood pressure: 120 over 70. Normal. All right, open wide. Looks fine. Healthy as a horse. Just one more thing, Luther.
Warden Luther Plunkitt:
You got to whiz in the cup, Frank. Then we're done.
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Good character driven story but usual `race against the clock' conclusion
When his colleague is killed in a car crash, worn out journalist Steve Everett inherits her story a human interest piece on a man due to be executed at midnight that night. Everett tries to balance his collapsing personal life with his feeling that the condemned man, Beachum, is innocent. He begins to search for the vital evidence that will prove his feeling correct.
This sounds like you know where it's going a worn out journalist (alcoholic), an innocent man on death row, an investigation etc etc .but for the majority this manages to avoid all the usual pitfalls. It does this by being very well written, instead of caricatures we have characters. Everett is a mess, and Eastwood lets us see this we're used to seeing rogue cops and journalists sleeping around, drinking etc, but here we see the consequences of this. Likewise we are made to feel for the Beachum family and get a feel for the human stories that exist in the support characters. However, with 30 minutes to go, we have the usual twist and countdown thriller conclusion that spoils it a lot, but not completely.
Eastwood is excellent as a director, but he's even better here as a actor. At times he plays it too light, but for the majority we can see him weighted down by the pressure of his quest but also the self inflicted collapse of his personal life. This is not an ego-driven project. Washington however steals the show with a great performance, you can't help be moved by his dignity Denzel is not the only Washington who is under-rewarded. Lisa Gay Hamilton is also superb and works really well with Washington together they take some scenes that could have been soapy or melodramatic and make them powerful and emotional. Woods is good and has good banter with Eastwood, but a times feels out of place with the mood of the film but he does provide some humour. Leary is great in a non-comedy role, he is the representation of Everett's selfishness. Diane Venora is OK in a small role as Everett's wife (the casting director had clearly seen her similar role in Heat). And we have small roles for McKean and a strange role from Lucy Liu very small considering she had already done a few big movies.
We get some `jobs for the boys' but they don't affect the quality Eastwood has his wife (at time of writing!) Dina Eastwood and his daughter Francesca in side roles.
Overall, it may fall into the usual crime thriller cliché of a big twist, but up till then it is an assured character driven piece that is very enjoyable to watch.
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