Action / Crime / Mystery / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 82%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 51%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 13436


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Clint Eastwood as Wes Block
Jamie Rose as Melanie Silber
Alison Eastwood as Amanda Block
Dan Hedaya as Det. Molinari
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814.75 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 54 min
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1.84 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 54 min
P/S 3 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by James Hitchcock 6 / 10

The Dark Underbelly

During what I have come to think of as his "early period" in the sixties, Clint Eastwood was best known for acting in Westerns, but by his "middle period" in the seventies and eighties the Western genre was in decline so (with a couple of exceptions such as "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and "Pale Rider") he was forced to reinvent himself. During this period he was probably best known for cop thrillers. He made no fewer than five featuring his iconic "Dirty Harry" character, but also played a detective in several other films.

Eastwood tried hard to make each of his characters an individual in his own right; they might also be police detectives but that does not mean that they are simply Dirty Harry under another name and transferred to a different city. His character in "Tightrope", Wes Block, is quite different not only from Harry but also from Walt Coogan, Eastwood's "cool dude" cop in "Coogan's Bluff" or from Ben Shockley, the washed-up alcoholic he played in "The Gauntlet". Block is a divorcée whose wife has left him to bring up their two daughters Penny and Amanda. (Amanda is played by Eastwood's real-life daughter Alison). He is hard-working and conscientious and is devoted to his two girls, as well as to the family's numerous pet dogs. He is often seen with a drink in his hand, but his drinking is not made a plot point as it is with Shockley in "The Gauntlet". As we shall see, however, he also has a dark side.

The action takes place in New Orleans. A serial killer is preying on the city's vice girls, and Block is assigned to the case. He has, however, something more than a purely professional interest in the case. He is himself a user of the services of prostitutes, and some of the dead women were personally known to him in the course of their profession rather than his. (It is implied that he only began using prostitutes after his wife left him and that this was not the reason for the break-up of his marriage). As the story progresses we also discover that the killer has a personal interest in Block, and that not only Block but also his daughters and his new girlfriend Beryl are in danger. (But then we could have guessed that from the start. It is one of the unwritten rules of Hollywood that in any police procedural involving a serial killer the villain must have a personal grudge against the detective, or take a sadistic pleasure in playing psychological mind-games with him, or both).

The film is perhaps overlong, and the plot is occasionally obscure, making it difficult to work out exactly what is going on. One thing that is never explained is why Block's superiors never took him off the case when they realised that he had a personal involvement. (In a high-profile homicide case like this one he would not have been working alone but would have been part of a team). Director Richard Tuggle, however, manages to generate an atmosphere not only of suspense but also of seediness and moral corruption. Although New Orleans is one of America's most photogenic cities, we do not see much of its glamorous touristic side, only its dark underbelly. Eastwood also gives a good performance, making Block someone we can sympathise with despite his flaws. The film is not in the class of the original "Dirty Harry", but it is considerably better than the weaker entries in that franchise, such as "The Dead Pool", or the ludicrously improbable "The Gauntlet". 6/10

Reviewed by Scott LeBrun 7 / 10

Just call him Kinky Harry.

"Tightrope" is indicative of how veteran star Clint Eastwood has so often been willing to take chances with his film vehicles. Here Clint plays Wes Block, a New Orleans detective investigating the case of a sexual predator. The case gets more personal when both cop and killer realize that they're not so different. Wes, you see, does like to frequent after hours joints, and he's a known customer to some French Quarter ladies.

While not altogether successful - it lacks the style and tension to make it something truly special - it is, at the least, a fairly interesting character study, of a character who's not squeaky clean. We see Wes' happy home life - he's a single father to two girls, and owner of several dogs - contrasting with the less appealing aspects of his existence. Writer / director Richard Tuggle, who'd scripted the earlier Clint vehicle "Escape from Alcatraz", does his best to give us a film that attempts to take a look at the "dark within all of us". There's even a line to that effect, spoken by a minor character played by Janet MacLachlan.

We do see the psycho (character actor Marco St. John, "Friday the 13th: A New Beginning", "Thelma & Louise") in the act of stalking a woman right from the get go, so there's no mystery about what he looks like. That does put a crimp in the suspense.

Clint does well in this unconventional hero role, doing solid work as always. He co-stars with his real life daughter Alison, and Jennifer Beck, as his kids, the typically excellent Dan Hedaya as his partner, and Genevieve Bujold as a tough talking counsellor at a rape centre, who naturally places herself in harms' way by becoming involved with Wes.

Where the film is its strongest is in its depiction of N.O., capturing the night life in an American city known for its atmosphere.

Not a great film by any means, but worth a look for Clint fans.

Seven out of 10.

Reviewed by slightlymad22 7 / 10

One Of Eastwood's Most Fascinating Characters.

Continuing my plan to watch every Clint Eastwood movie in order I come to Tightrope (1984)

Plot In A Paragraph: Wes Block (Eastwood) a New Orleans detective, is leading an investigation into a killer who is raping and murdering women. His enquiries lead him into the seedy side of town where he is no stranger off-duty. All this contrasts with his home life as a single parent with two young girls.

In this tense thriller, disturbing parallels are drawn between Eastwoods' detective and the massmurderer so that at one stage we wonder if the cop and the killer are in fact the same person. Wes Block is one of Eastwood's most fascinating characters, he is a man of many faces: caring father, hard as nails detective and a sexual deviant. Could he also be the killer??

By 1984 audiences were used to seeing Eastwood play characters with an eye for the ladies and was similarly accustomed to seeing women reciprocate his sexual advances, albeit after a little mutual bickering in some cases. To many, Eastwood represented a certain brand of confident, virile masculinity. Tightrope differs because Eastwood plays a character who is troubled by his own sexuality. Wes Block gets off on the kinky sex games against his better judgement. His investigation leads him to the red light district on a nightly basis, and on each occasion business blends into pleasure. Truthfully there is an air of helplessness in the way he's repeatedly drawn back there. It's even hinted that Block might be gay (The ultimate subversion of Eastwood's persona) on more than one occasion.

Of the supporting cast Dan Hadaya (an actor I adore) has a role as a detective, but it's Clint's daughter, Alison Eastwood who stands out, showing Kyle isn't the only talented Eastwood offspring. Most movies set in New Orleans feature a cracking soundtrack and Tightrope is no exception. Opening with Lennie Niehaus's sultry score, the soundtrack is perfect for the movie.

Tightrope grossed $48 million at the domestic box office, to end 1984 the 13th highest grossing movie of the year. A drop from Sudden Impact, but still a decent, profitable hit.

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