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Palmetto (1998)

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A recently released ex-con gets involved in a fake kidnapping scheme that turns very real.

Director:

Volker Schlöndorff (as Volker Schlondorff)

Writers:

James Hadley Chase (novel), E. Max Frye (screenplay)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Woody Harrelson ... Harry Barber
Elisabeth Shue ... Mrs. Donnelly / Rhea Malroux
Gina Gershon ... Nina
Rolf Hoppe ... Felix Malroux
Michael Rapaport ... Donnelly
Chloë Sevigny ... Odette (as Chloe Sevigny)
Tom Wright ... John Renick
Marc Macaulay ... Miles Meadows
Joe Hickey Joe Hickey ... Lawyer
Ralph Wilcox Ralph Wilcox ... Judge
Peter Paul DeLeo Peter Paul DeLeo ... Bartender (as Peter Paul Deleo)
Mal Jones ... Ed
Salvador Levy Salvador Levy ... Driver
Richard Booker ... Billy Holden
Mikki Scanlon Mikki Scanlon ... Alda (as Mikki McKeever)
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Storyline

After being released from prison on a bum charge, Harry Barber is out for some payback to regain the two years he has lost. He is hired by Mrs. Malroux to fake the kidnapping of her stepdaughter (the daughter of a dying millionaire). He discovers that he is being set up on multiple levels and will soon face a longer prison sentence if he does not prove the truth to the police. Written by Jason Ihle <jrihl@conncoll.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In a town this bad, it's hard to be good...


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Official Site

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 February 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Just Another Sucker See more »

Filming Locations:

Florida, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,876,753, 22 February 1998

Gross USA:

$5,878,911

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,878,911
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Harry is told by the judge that his conviction was overturned, Harry yells at the judge and the judge turns off the feed, leaving the screen black. In the next shot when Harry rushes towards the television, the image of the judge at his desk has returned. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[palmetto bug chirping over typical prison sounds]
Harry Barber: They're not as bad as you might think. In fact, sometimes they're pretty good company.
[pause]
Harry Barber: And you can get used to just about anything in prison, even a palmetto bug.
[pause]
Harry Barber: I tried writing again. Nothing came out that didn't sound bitter and cynical. And there's nothing worse than a writer who doesn't have anything to say.
[pause]
Harry Barber: Well... that's me, Harry Barber.
See more »


Soundtracks

Bedbugs
Written by Guy Fixsen and Margaret Fiedler
Performed by Laika
Courtesy of Too Pure Records (Beggars Banquet)
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User Reviews

Passable thriller
21 December 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Released from prison after being cleared of charges, Harry Barber tries to get his life back when he is approached by the beautiful Rhea Malroux with a proposition to make money. It's simple - Rhea's stepdaughter will pretend to be kidnapped, Harry will write the notes and Rhea will get $500,000 ransom money from her rich elderly husband without the police ever getting involved. Needless to say, things don't go totally to plan and, after Harry collects the money, things go badly wrong and he finds himself desperately trying to get out of the web he is caught up in.

An ex-con gets approached by a gorgeous woman and is seduced into committing a simple crime - typical noir territory, cue a twisty thriller where things that are presented as facts turn out to be lies etc. The plot is quite good even if I was waiting for the twists rather than having them come out of leftfield at me. The lack of real surprises was a problem for me as it did turn the story into rather a workmanlike affair at times. The characters aren't great either. Aside from Harry all the others are basic cardboard cut outs of characters rather than being well scripted people.

Harrelson does a good Harry, he has a sort of haggard yet oafish character here who is always one step behind and Woody can do that quite well. Shue is OK as the supposed femme fatale but I couldn't help feel that Gershon would have done a much better job, although at times Shue does look very sexy. Sevigny and Rapaport are both good young actors but neither is really given anything to do here - especially Rapaport who has bad dialogue throughout.

Overall though this is watchable and isn't bad - just routine. It has weaknesses but it does well to ape the atmosphere and prerequisites of the genre well, although it is pretty run of the mill as far as the genre goes. Still worth seeing but if you've seen more than three examples of the genre then you'll know pretty much what to expect.


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