A former L.A. drug dealer tries to go straight but his past and his underworld connections bring him into the focus of the DEA, the Mexican feds and the Mexican drug cartels.A former L.A. drug dealer tries to go straight but his past and his underworld connections bring him into the focus of the DEA, the Mexican feds and the Mexican drug cartels.A former L.A. drug dealer tries to go straight but his past and his underworld connections bring him into the focus of the DEA, the Mexican feds and the Mexican drug cartels.
In Robert Towne's film everyone is divided between love (on someone or something) and friendship, and things isn't always what they appear. McKussic (Mel Gibson) and Nick Frescia (Kurt Russell) are long time pals who have opposite lines of work: Mac is a nice drug dealer who has a perfect ability of escape from problems, trying to retire himself from the "job"; while Nick is a cop investigating a huge drug shipment coming to the country and McKussic might be involved in it. But friendship worths more than anything in the world and one won't be after the other as long things don't turn into something illegal. In the middle of these two there's three things: Nick's FBI partner Maguire (J.T.Walsh) coordinating McKussic's investigation; Mac's friend the drug dealer Carlos (Raul Julia) coming from Mexico for a big drug operation; and the gorgeous Jo Ann Vallenari (Michelle Pfeiffer) owner of a successful restaurant where Mac is a regular costumer and both friends are interested in this woman who is divided between the love of both men. The audience must try to hold the pieces together and figure what happens next, who's telling the truth and who's lying in this intricate plot.
If the plot itself sometimes wanders a little bit, at least the characters are so well constructed and the performances go in the right direction that the film doesn't suffer one bit, but I must say that attention is required to follow everyone and everything, otherwise you lost yourself with no chance of getting back to the story, and you'll probably hate it. My earlier problems with "Tequila Sunrise" on other views was exactly that; it was right in front of me, this is a picture made exclusively with dialogs and they matter a lot, it is all well written out.
Now, this is a helluva film from the 1980's filled with elements all nostalgic fans from that decade love: Gibson in the peak of his career, Russell as well, Michelle beautiful as ever, Raul Julia stealing the show from everybody, Dave Grusin's jazzy music featuring David Sanborn sax solos with the love's theme, the spectacular cinematography from Conrad L.Hall (Oscar nominated for his work here) capturing fantastic sunny shots and the most beautiful sunsets ever captured on celluloid.
There's a strange magnetism about "Tequila Sunrise" that even before the time I like it, there was something good about it, and I'm glad for it because it always made me want more of it, something makes me watch it every time I can (even though I still don't understand the title. Towne played the enigmatic again with the title, remember "Chinatown"?). Here's a story about the value of love and friendship among unusual friends with more unusual types of work. 10/10
- Apr 22, 2011