When a teenager is shot at the beach, a journalist from The Miami Journal is sent to cover the story. He's called by the murderer and told there'll be four more.When a teenager is shot at the beach, a journalist from The Miami Journal is sent to cover the story. He's called by the murderer and told there'll be four more.When a teenager is shot at the beach, a journalist from The Miami Journal is sent to cover the story. He's called by the murderer and told there'll be four more.
Based on the John Katzenbach story "In the Heat of the Summer", this Florida-lensed crime thriller does hold ones' attention with its straightforward telling of an interesting tale. Kurt Russell is aces as Malcolm Anderson, a star reporter for the Miami Journal who is contacted by a murderous psychopath (Richard Jordan) who has killed once and who promises that there will be other murders. The killer, who craves the spotlight, decides to use Anderson as his mouthpiece, creating a very uneasy "collaboration" between killer and reporter. Things start to really turn South when Anderson starts getting the bulk of the attention, leaving the killer feeling resentful. This is a solid set-up for a movie that ultimately does indeed lose a fair deal of its impact by turning conventional for its final act, but until then it's solidly entertaining, with the performances of Russell and Jordan serving as effective anchors. The give and take between their two characters is compelling stuff, and it's a good thing that Anderson isn't treated as some typically infallible movie hero. The supporting cast is mostly strong; Mariel Hemingway as Anderson's schoolteacher girlfriend Christine is appealing as she always is, but her character has little to do besides look and act concerned and eventually be put into peril. Richard Masur (reunited, along with producers Lawrence Turman and David Foster, with Russell after "The Thing") is Anderson's editor, Andy Garcia (in one of his earliest movie roles) and Richard Bradford are the weary detectives on the case, Joe Pantoliano is a photographer, and the almighty movie tough guy William Smith appears briefly as a character supplying critical information. The Miami setting adds a lot of ambiance, especially as the storms start coming up towards the end of the story. Lalo Schifrin's music is also highly effective. Even in light of the clichéd climactic confrontation, there is some enjoyable resonance to "The Mean Season" as it deals with the big issue of journalistic culpability, and the role that the media play in our receipt of the news. An overall grim feel to the presentation, and an atmospheric opening, are also assets in this generally good, if not great, and reasonably convincing movie. Seven out of 10.
- Sep 16, 2012
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