The acting is better than the script or the production design. That's the one positive thing I can say about this film. The theme song is good, too.
Everything else about the film is flat-out awful, for being a film done in the laziest way imaginable.
I actually lived in the town where this event happened, at the time it was happening, and the film got nearly everything wrong about the people and the location.
Mistake #1: The town where this took place was Tyler, back then population around 70,000. I realize that's not a big city, but Tyler wasn't a typical backwoods hick town. I don't know about now, but back then it would have been one of the top locations for millionaires per capita in the country, thanks to the nearby East Texas Oil field. Too many people had too much money for it to be a standard "rural" town. I had classmates who had multi-million dollar trust funds waiting for them when they turned 18 and they drove Porsches and Mercedes Benzes to school. That's how wealthy Tyler was in the late 1970s.
Mistake #2 (spoiler alert): The villain played by Greg Allman wasn't a bad guy in real life. He was a little sleazy, yes, but not a criminal. He wasn't evil or murderous at all. He didn't have anything to do with drugs and in fact threw people out of his nightclubs if he found out anybody was using drugs in his club. He never made intimidating gestures or faces at the liar who wrote the book this movie was based on. No, I will not apologize for calling her what she was: A filthy liar. Because that's what she was--and still is.
Mistake #3: The nightclubs the guy owned weren't honky-tonks out in the boonies, but typical discos in standard city areas. Not a single one of them had an outdoor picnic area. Two of them were in shopping centers. One of the clubs was a favorite hangout of the nearby junior college and even had a replica of the famous lighted floor from Saturday Night Fever. People wore designer clothes, not drugstore cowboy gear.
So you don't see anything that is remotely like how Tyler was in 1978.
These are unforgivable mistakes because they were flat-out lazy mistakes. When this film was made, many of the actual locations were still accessible as they had more or less been in the 70s, and locals had fresh memories about what had happened. It certainly affected enough of them for the producers to be able to find plenty of them who would talk about their experiences. It wouldn't have killed the people behind the film to go to Tyler, look over the locations, and talk to some of the people who lived there then to make it at least a little authentic--rather than running on their bigoted assumptions about how everything must have been. Did they think nobody would notice the shocking liberties they took with these basic facts?
A movie that should have been about police taking disgusting liberties with the freedom of other people for their own selfish reasons became instead a complete joke to the people who actually lived this film. That isn't simply lazy film-making. It's downright disrespectful.
They're lucky that Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sam Elliott and Eric Clapton's theme song were so good. If it weren't for them, I would give this utter trash zero stars instead of three.
Raynor is an undercover narcotics cop. For his next assignment he chooses the more inexperienced but tough and good-looking Kristen. Their ultimate target is Gaines, a renowned but very elusive drug dealer. While doing their work they unexpectedly fall into a morass of drug-addiction and fall in love with each other. Despite subjecting themselves to the life of low-class, one-track junkies they do not get the evidence they want to convict Gaines, and instead are forced into using false evidence in court.
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July 19, 2015 at 01:14 PM