Working from a quick-fire screenplay, by Cheers writers Glen and Les Charles, Newell meanders through a two hour-plus mix of macho melodramatics, romantic entanglements and comedy, uncertain whether he's making a desktop version of Only Angels Have Wings, a Buñuelian black farce, or a Tony Scott picture. Cusack, however, is good value as über-yuppie Nick Falzone, top gun of NY's Air Traffic Control facility (TRACON), whose chair spinning self-congratulation takes a dive with the arrival of Zen-lite country poke Russell Bell (Thornton). A cross between Iron John, Sitting Bull and Sam Shepard, Bell is a man without a pulse for whom 'thought is your enemy - you have to let go'. Newell encourages Thornton to have fun with the part, pushing it to the edge of self-parody - possibly the only option, given that Bell's idea of kicks is laying in front of jumbo jets. Satire, you think. And confirmation seems to come in the way Newell deals with Falzone's seduction of Bell's wife (Jolie) and his subsequent tremulous showdown with Bell. Maybe that's just the director having fun. In any event, we're whipped straight back into the control room - with its flashing screens, techno-babble and adrenalin, indistinguishable from a Hollywood war room - for the standard issue climactic bonding between Falzone and Bell.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Glen Charles, Les Charles|
Billy Bob Thornton