• Film
  • Drama
Critics' choice
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Bearing not a little resemblance to Scorsese's Mean Streets, not to mention Toback's earlier script for Karel Reisz's The Gambler, this is a raw thriller-cum-psychodrama about a split personality: Keitel plays an aspiring concert pianist strangely fascinated by the violence he encounters while enforcing the payment of 'debts' owed to his criminal father. The idea is none too original, and the film can certainly be faulted for its macho posturing and unquestioning misogyny. Nonetheless, Toback, making his directing debut, is clearly exorcising - or indulging - a few personal demons, and the perverse conviction of Keitel's tormented performance, reinforced by restless, sometimes volatile visuals, prevents the overheated plot from becoming entirely risible. It's not exactly pleasant, but it is compelling.

Release details

Duration: 91 mins

Cast and crew

Director: James Toback
Screenwriter: James Toback
Cast: Jim Brown
Tisa Farrow
Georgette Muir
Tanya Roberts
Michael V Gazzo
Harvey Keitel
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