After six years of desperate, unrelieved mourning, Freddy Gale (Nicholson) feels his life has just one terminus: the murder of John Booth (Morse) who killed his daughter in a drunk-driving accident. Writer/director Penn cuts between Gale's impotent, pent-up rage, aimed also at his ex-wife (Huston), and Booth's equally consuming remorse after his release from prison. Only a hesitant affair with a painter (Wright) proffers hope. This is a naive film. Very evidently the work of an actor, it follows the performances with a dogged faith which lands you in all sorts of nooks and crannies, some no more than dead ends. Yet Nicholson delivers his most committed, penetrating work in years. Penn is at his best simply pointing a camera at lonely men in anonymous rooms, choking for air in emotional vacuums of their own devising.
Cast and crew