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.
As the film opens on an Oklahoma farm during the depression, two simultaneous visitors literally hit the Wagoneer home: a ruinous dust storm and a convertible crazily driven by Red, the ... See full summary »
Wes Block 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 <email@example.com>
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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