Alex, a hit man, tries to get out of the family business, but his father won't let him do so. While seeking the help of a therapist, he meets a sexually charged 23-year-old woman with whom he falls in love.
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Alex, a sad-eyed mournful man, goes into psychotherapy: he discloses he's a hit man. He also tells the doctor, after a few sessions, that he's attracted to a young woman he's met in the waiting room. She's Sarah, 23, quick, edgy, and perhaps attracted to him as well. But he's married, the dutiful father of a young precocious boy, so Sarah brushes him off. In flashbacks we see him get his start as a killer, at his father's prompting: it's the family business. Dad gives Alex his next assignment: to kill the therapist. Alex keeps returning to Sarah, calling her, stopping by her apartment, as he decides what to do about the hit, his father, his marriage, and his malaise. Written by
[Alex has shown up at her doorstep]
What do you want?
And then?... Then? After you have me, what then?
I don't know.
You don't know much, do ya'?
No, I guess not.
So your plan is, you have me, you ravish me, you bury your pathetic middle-aged pain in me, and then you say thanks... or maybe you don't... and you leave, and I never see you again? Or, I see you again and again, because I make you feel better, and you can't stand not feeling better. Either way, you finally get your shit together...
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Panic is a sneaky little gem of a film - you think you have it figured out by the first half hour only to realize, with great pleasure, that Henry Bromell is a much better writer/director than that.
The film builds slowly, with one quietly devastating scene after another, all enacted perfectly by William H. Macy, Donald Sutherland, Neve Campbell, Tracey Ullman, John Ritter, and the most remarkable child actor I've seen in a long time, David Dorfman, as Macy's son, who delivers his lines as if they're completely unscripted thoughts being created in his mind. Rich and rewarding, this film will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.
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