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
Action / Crime / Mystery / Thriller
Action / Crime / Mystery / Thriller
Wes Block is a detective who's put on the case of a serial killer whose victims are young and pretty women, that he rapes and murders. The killings are getting personal when the killer chooses victims who are acquaintances of Block. Even his daughters are threatened.
Uploaded By: OTTO
Downloaded 26,690 times
May 24, 2014 at 03:49 AM