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.
San Francisco Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) must foil a terrorist organization made up of disgruntled Vietnam veterans. But this time, he's teamed with female partner Inspector Kate Moore (Tyne Daly), with whom he's not too excited to be working.
Wes Block (Clint Eastwood) is a detective who's put on the case of a serial killer whose victims are young and pretty women, that he rapes and murders. The killings are getting personal when the killer chooses victims who are acquaintances of Block. Even his daughters are threatened.Written by
Tony Kessen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to Writer and Director Richard Tuggle, the inspiration for the story happened to be crimes committed by the Bay Area Rapist, who had been terrorizing the San Francisco Bay Area for much of the previous ten years. This movie's serial killer turned out to be an ex-cop. In April 2018, the Bay Area Rapist was finally arrested after advanced DNA testing matched his DNA to some of the crimes. Ironically enough, the Bay Area Rapist was an ex-cop as well, and is now more commonly known as the Golden State Killer, suspected in at least twelve murders in addition to the more than fifty rapes. See more »
Despite shooting on location in New Orleans, not one person in this movie has a regional Louisiana, New Orleans, or Cajun accent. See more »
TightRope is a very accurate name for this picture, the most interesting aspect of which is Eastwood's attempts to balance his duties as a responsible and loving father with his taste for deviant sex. This latter he shares with the serial killer he is pursuing. The killer has a penchant for strangling his victims with ribbons which I guess is another meaning for "tight rope".
Eastwood's character is very well fleshed out and his desire to provide a safe and normal home life for his daughters and later to establish a relationship with a rape defence adviser he is attracted to, is very believable. While this is happening, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the dark world of bondage and sado-masochism and there is for a long time some doubt as to which way he will fall and even that he may know more about the killings than he admits.
All this is very compellingly handled.
Unfortunately the villain is straight out of central casting. A one-dimensional cardboard cut-out who the film makers attempt to give some mystery to by having him wear masks. Yawn. Unlike Eastwood, this villain is poorly drawn and apart from an uncharacteristic appearance at the start, is completely silent. He just swans around in the shadows a-la the phantom of the opera and has little of the sense of personality even of Scorpio in Dirty Harry.
There is no real reason why he should be masked, actually, since he is an undistinguished looking character, and stalking around with an assortment of facial coverings is more likely to draw attention to himself if anything. One must believe that this oddly disguised person can enter and leave buildings (such as brothels - highly security conscious in the real world) without anyone noticing. Or perhaps he goes in unmasked and whips out his disguise later? Who knows? If the latter, why bother with the disguise at all? It certainly has not been thought out and is a very cheap attempt to create a sense of intrigue and danger.
Its a pity because the constant appearance of this silly villain actually detracts from the menace and darkness of this film. Without him, there would be real doubt as to whether Eastwood was really the killer himself, for instance. I do not think I give anything away in saying this, since the clunking villain is seen stalking Eastwood from quite early on, hovering behind him or looking in the skylight, so much so that you feel like shouting "He's behind you!" in a pantomime sort of way.
Other details do not ring true, such as Eastwood telling a young male hooker to go to a warehouse to be paid by the killer then going there himself to find (surprise! Surprise!) the hooker hanging by his neck. Cheap and unrealistic writing like this add to the schlock horror feel.
All this leads to a routine and unnecessarily gory finale. However, a touching moment with his girlfriend shows that the film makers do understand subtlety.
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