Kiss of Death
Time Out saysEx-con Jimmy Kilmartin's a decent guy who'd rather babysit than hijack cars. Lured back for One Last Job - a favour to no-account cousin Ronnie - Jimmy takes a bullet and the fall. Worse, his wife, Bev, dies in an accident after a one-night stand with Ronnie. Jimmy plays the DA off against a psychotic mobster, Little Junior, to execute his revenge from behind bars, which puts him in double jeopardy on his release. Schroeder's honourable, rather onerous remake of Hathaway's gripping film noir is too restrained for its own good - it barely musters a climax - but it's a solid, atmospheric thriller all the same, with smart dialogue by Richard Price and a strong line-up of downbeat actors: Tucci as a DA of questionable integrity, Rhames as a scary drug-dealer, and Jackson as a cop with a weeping eye. Caruso's okay in the lead, but you can feel the weight of the movie (or is it destiny?) on his shoulders; in any case, he, along with the rest, is effectively steamrollered by Cage. 'I have an acronym for myself,' boasts Little Junior: 'Bad: Balls. Attitude. Direction'. I can't vouch for the direction, but he's definitely big on balls and attitude - no one's quite as bad as Nic when he's in this kind of mood: whether bench-pressing bargirls, confiding that he can't stand metal in his mouth, or taking another jolt of oxygen from his inhaler, this is larger-than-life villainy worthy of Elmore Leonard or Carl Hiaasen.