Monday, January 11, 2016
"Straight Time" (1978) Movie Review
Movie Info: Straight Time (1978) - IMDb
Heart-Breaking Character Study
Dustin Hoffman gives one of his all-time greatest performances in this film! He was started as director on it, but found it to be too much to do acting, producing and directing.
Ulu Grosbard takes over beautifully, knowing exactly the right tone and the right pace for the film. Cinematography by Owen Roizman has that great balance of beautifully shot footage combined with a documentary quality, like Roizman accomplished in "The French Connection."
The script went through a number of writers, but you would never know. It still feels unified and organic. The one downside is the film score by David Shire. Like others he has done, if feels 100% completely out of place here. I don't know why directors use him.
Please see this film! It is one of the great character studies! If you have seen it, I want to talk about Hoffman's character. It truly is tragic what happens to him. But, on the second viewing, I really could tell how impulsive the character was, and that's what condemns him at the film's close. The oft-misheard line at the end is: "I'm gonna get caught." He knows that he is done, and is letting Teresa Russell's character off so that she isn't with him when that happens. It is heartbreaking. I especially have little sympathy for criminals, especially in organized crime movies. So, the fact that I feel for Hoffman's character is rare for me. But, this film makes that happen, and impressively so!
All in all, a great movie. It doesn't at all matter that it was made in the 1970's. You really won't think about that for more than a few minutes, at most.
★★★★ 1/2 (4 1/2 Stars Out of 5)
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