USA, 1981 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Ivan Passer

When Alex Cutter, a crippled and scarred veteran of all the 1960s wars (Vietnam, politics, drugs), finds out that his only friend, Richard Bone, a tired beach-boy worn out with dreams, may know who brutally killed a high-school cheerleader in one of California's most beautiful and affluent seaside communities, he spins a web, at once lucid and paranoid, that snares Bone, Cutter's wife Mo and Cutter himself into a dangerous and obsessive duel with one of the most powerful corporate czars in the state.

There is no tactic Cutter fails to use to draw Bone into his scheme; Bone's one remaining dream — his love for Cutter's wife Mo — becomes another device for achieving Cutter's dream of truth and revenge. What begins as a game to give Cutter a reason to get up in the morning explodes into a firestorm of blackmail, violence and personal vengeance that threatens to destroy the tranquil fabric of all their lives.

Ivan Passer is an emigre Czech who has directed a number of films. since settling in the U.S., following the clampdown in 1968. His Czech films were comedies of character that poked gentle fun at pomposity and delighted in eccentricity. In this film, he retains these virtues while marrying them to a modern American crime thriller. The resulting mix makes for a splendid comedy drama full of quirky surprises and twists of character and plot.

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