A delicious excursion into the world of Hitchcockian suspense. A taut, complex conspiracy thriller, it sees Scheider - a former 'agent' for an assassination firm - threatened by mental breakdown (guilt over his wife's death), by his former employers who find him dangerously superfluous, and by an obscure Hebraic society bent on revenge for some unknown reason. Scheider is admirably haunted as the justifiably paranoid gunman (who gets involved with a strange, duplicitous femme fatale), the whole thing is beautifully shot by Tak Fujimoto, and Miklós Rosza's stunning score augments Demme's careful control of atmosphere and set pieces. But what finally impresses is the way that the various references to Hitchcock and other classic thrillers are never used as an end in themselves; rather, they simply add resonance and depth to a film that works perfectly well in its own right.
Cast and crew