Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In the Line of Fire (2008)

In the Line of FireClint Eastwood, in his first film after completing his masterpiece, UNFORGIVEN, chose a winner with Wolfgang Petersen's suspenseful IN THE LINE OF FIRE. As 30-year veteran Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan, Eastwood had the misfortune of protecting President Kennedy, November 22, 1963, and the specter of not reacting quickly enough has never fully left him, through the subsequent years. At the other end of the spectrum is ex-CIA assassin Mitch Leary (brilliantly portrayed by John Malkovich), who had become 'excess baggage' for the intelligence community, due to budget cuts. After surviving a bungled attempt to kill him, Leary decides to vent his rage at his 'betrayal' by assassinating the President. In his research, he discovers that the only agent still active from the 1963 team is Horrigan, and, deciding they shared a kinship, he begins to tease Horrigan with clues about himself, and how he'll kill the President.

The film builds up a 'head of steam' from the very first scene, as Horrigan and his partner, Al D'Andrea (Dylan McDermott, long before television stardom in THE PRACTICE) take down a band of counterfeiters, and the edginess never lets up, as Leary, introducing himself as 'Booth', begins his series of fateful calls to Horrigan. Facing mounting opposition from the head of the Presidential Secret Service team (Gary Cole), as well as the White House Chief of Staff (future Senator Fred Dalton Thompson), Horrigan badgers, insults, and belittles everyone's work, knowing the potential assassin will find any crack in the security, and take advantage of it. Only his boss, Sam Campagna (FRAZIER star John Mahoney), his partner, D'Andrea, and fellow agent Lilly Raines (Rene Russo, in another star-making performance), take him seriously, with Raines soon falling in love with the cantankerous agent.

The plot is full of twists and turns, as Horrigan barely misses capturing Leary, twice, and Leary, at one point, actually saves Horrigan's life (while ending D'Andrea's). Strung so tightly that he starts making bad 'calls', Horrigan is finally removed from Presidential security...just as Leary is about to make his move...

IN THE LINE OF FIRE does for the Secret Service what BACKDRAFT did for firefighters, and television's NYPD BLUE did for policemen; it shows the organization not as a group of faceless supermen, but as dedicated people performing an essential service, protecting the lives of others. As Leary sneers to Horrigan, "I'm the offense, you're the defense," and that analogue truly describes the difficulty of their job; they must find the means to protect the President against whatever misdeed a perpetrator can concoct. While Clint Eastwood's Horrigan may be far more of a 'lone wolf' than the Agency would, in real life, tolerate, his dedication to his job reflects well on those unique individuals who would 'take a bullet' for the President.

It is an excellent suspense film, and a worthy addition to any Clint Eastwood collection!

This review refers to the Special Edition DVD(Columbia)......

He was there when Kennedy was assassinated. It still haunts him 30 years later. If he had moved a fraction of a second sooner he may have saved his beloved president, But a what cost to him? He is Frank Horrigan(Eastwood), an aging Secret Service Agent, trained to do whatever it takes to protect the President of the United States. Now he has a chance to redeem himself in his own eyes.

A psychotic, but very clever, would be presidental assassin is on the loose. He calls himself Booth(Malkovich), (Because Booth had so much more "panache" then Oswald). He taunts Horrigan about the day Kennedy is shot, through phone calls. Lets him know that he intends to assassinate the president,even if it means dying himself, and taking Frank with him.

Frank does everything he can to track down this killer and save the president. Most of the other agents feel Frank is too old to keep up the pace of the Presidental Campaign trail,but he feels he must persue this case.

A deadly cat and mouse game ensues, and we are kept on the edge of our seats throughout the movie,waiting to see what Booth's next move will be, and if Horrigan will be a part of it. It's thrilling and chilling.

Eastwood as always gives a brilliant performance as the aging agent,(He always seems to be an aging something lately,cop,thief, astrounaut,reporter, but he's sooooo good at it)and Malkovich is outstanding as the mysterious, chilling assassin. Also contributing greatly to the film are Rene Russo, as the field agent Horrigan takes a shine to and Dylan McDermott as his young partner, and we all know by now that it is not healthy to be Clint's partner in any film! Directed by the great Wolfgang Petersen( Das Boot, Air Force One), and scored by Ennio Morricone, you wont want to miss this thrill ride.

The DVD is top quality. It is in widescreen(Anamorphic),with the sound choices of 5.1 dolby or 2 channel surround. Either way you will be happy with the sound.For me sound is one of the more important features in an action film. Great picture and colors, lots and lots of special features, I checked out a couple of the featurettes, very entertaining and informative. I'm saving some for the next time I watch it. There are subtitiles in English and several other languages for those needing it. If you are a fan of Eastwood, Malkovitch, Petersen or are just in the mood for an action thriller this is a great one!

Would you take the bullet???? Laurie

more Clint stuff:

The Gauntlet/True Crime

Clint Eastwood Selection: Dirty Harry/The Outlaw Josey Wales/Unforgiven

Music for the Movies of Clint Eastwood

Buy In the Line of Fire (2008) Now

"In The Line of Fire" is a thinking person's movie with lots of action, suspense, and brains as well! It gets better and better every time that I watch it! Clint Eastwood gave a superb performance as Secret Service Agent Frank Horrigan, a man who is haunted by a loss. In 1963, he was guarding President John F. Kennedy when the commander-in-chief was assassinated in Dallas, TX. Horrigan's inability to divert the tragedy has wreaked havoc on his personal life, making the aging agent socially reclusive and chagrined at his own failures. "A living legend; the only active agent who ever lost a President", says Horrigan of his soiled reputation. His chance to redeem himself comes soon enough, though.

A meticulous psychopath named Mitch Leary (John Malkovich in a outstanding and frightening performance) is threatening the current president, and Horrigan is back on the case. Leary identifies himself as John Booth, an eerie reference to President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Leary taunts Horrigan for his failings, and his pranks become more dangerous as he gets closer to his endgame.

Wolfgang Petersen ("Das Boot", "Air Force One") directs this super-slick thriller with sheer intensity and explosive action as well. Two powerhouse actors, plus a great supporting cast (Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, John Mahoney, Gary Cole, Fred Dalton Thompson) make "In The Line of Fire" one of the absolute best suspense films of 1993!

Read Best Reviews of In the Line of Fire (2008) Here

Movies about presidential assassinations (whether fictional or non-fictional) are usually lame. They follow the same formula and they always end the same. I guess, technically, "In the Line of Fire" is nothing new for this kind of movie but it's got an exciting plot, awesome acting, and well basically...Despite the familar formula, it's a damn good movie. Clint Eastwood plays a Secret Service agent named Frank Horrigan, who is still haunted by the fact that he could've saved Kennedy from being assassinated had he reacted quicker. Since this incident, Frank has been reduced to a drunken under-cover Secret Service agent who longs for something meaninful to happen. It does in the form of Mitch Leary (John Malkovich, in an Oscar nominated performance). After Frank follows up on a tip that Leary may be up to something, he recieves a phone call from Leary who tells him that he is going to assassinate the Presidents. It seems doors are re-opening for Frank. As Frank and Leary begin talking to each other over the phone, while Frank and the rest of the agents descend upon the case it becomes clear that Leary is no ordinary crazy assassin. Rene Russo co-stars as Lilly Raines, a female Secret Service agent and the love interest of Frank. Dylan McDermott also co-stars as Frank's partner Al. Anyway, the plot is good...It has its moments of predictability, but I actually must admit that Leary's decision at the end genuinely surprised me. Anyway, I don't watch many Eastwood movies (I've only seen some movies he's directed, Any Which Way You Can, Escape from Alcatraz, and that's about it); I think, in all, I've seen 5 movies he's acted in. But I can honestly say that this is, probably, one of his strongest performances. Malkovich is what made me want to see this movie, the man is an amazing actor folks. Every film I've seen him in, he fascinates the viewer. Here, the casting doesn't get much better for his role. I can't think of another actor who could play Leary as well as Malkovich. I'm not sure if it was Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive) or Martin Landau (Ed Wood) he lost the Oscar to, but this is a completely Oscar worthy performance here. Russo is good (she has the strong look of a career woman, but can be vulnerable to Franks "charm."), as is the rest of the cast.

But, Eastwood and Malkovich are the core of this film. Out of all the films I've seen by director Wolfgang Petersen (I've only seen The Perfect Storm and Poseidon), this is definitely his best.


Want In the Line of Fire (2008) Discount?

Review Clarification: This review is based on my viewing of this movie in the theater, and on Laser Disc. I have not viewed the DVD (any version).

This is my favorite Clint Eastwood movie of all time, better than all the Dirty Harry, Spaghetti Western, and Sci-Fi/Space movies.

I first viewed this movie in the theater, and I was completely blown away. I am disappointed that John Malkovich has chosen not to be in more mainstream movies, because I immediately wanted to see everything he was in, after watching this movie. (I immediately rented "Being John Malkovich" when it became available, and was quite disappointed when he was not the protagonist.) John plays a brilliant Psycho in this movie, and plays it very well. In fact, I actually changed my image of him after this movie. If I were to see him on the street, this is the only memory I would have of him.

I recommend this movie highly. One of my favorites.

MC White said: Check it out!!!

EDIT: Why list the director's name first, Wolfgang Petersen, instead of Clint Eastwood? Stupid!

No comments:

Post a Comment