I'm going deeper underground!
Rush is directed by Lili Fini Zanuck and adapted to screenplay by Peter Dexter from the Kim Wozencraft novel. It stars Jason Patric, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sam Elliott, Max Perlich and Gregg Allman. Music is by Eric Clapton and cinematography by Kenneth MacMillan.
Two undercover narcotic cops get on a downward spiral that they may not return from...
Set and filmed in Texas, Rush is a hot, sweaty and claustrophobic neo-noir. It maybe doesn't have the classic visual tics of yesteryear, but it has photographic style to burn - with Clapton's score suitably melancholic, which in turn is something that sits perfectly with the perpetual sense of doom that pervades the pic. Corruption and addiction lead the way, all while love tries its hardest to break on through to the other side, but we are on a bus to noirville, and noirville is an unforgiving place...
Patric and Leigh are damn fine actors if given the right material to work with, and they carry this with aplomb. Sadly, Allman is a weak villain, maybe because he looks like a Rick Wakeman clone?! While under using Sam Elliott is just a plain waste. However, this deserves its place on neo-noir lists. It is deliberate in pacing, therefore asking for you to buy into the thematics at work, to let them itch your skin, but to do so has rewards, for in true noir style it doesn't chicken out once the end credits have rolled. 7.5/10
City of Angels? More Like City of Demons!
Curtis Hanson directs and co-adapts the screenplay with Brian Helgeland from legendary pulp novelist James Ellroy's novel. It stars Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito and David Strathairn. Music is by Jerry Goldsmith and cinematography by Dante Spinotti.
It's 1950s Los Angeles and three cops of very different morals and stature are about to be entwined in crime and corruption...
I admire you as a policeman, particularly your adherence to violence as a necessary adjunct to the job.
Tremendous film making. Hanson takes Ellroy's labyrinthine story and pumps it with period authenticity and seamless direction, the latter of which sees him garner superlative performances from the cast. This is the side of Los Angeles nobody wants to talk about, it's awash with corpses, hookers, seedy set-ups, violence, drugs, racism and corruption a go-go. And that's just involving the politicians, the press and the coppers!
The absence of genuine heroes on show still further keeps "The City of Angels" covered in dark clouds, where even as the plot twists and turns, as the mysteries unravel and brutality unfurls, the final destination of the principal characters is never clear, thus there's a continuing edge of seat pulse beat about the pic. It's also sexy and dangerous, the dialogue sharper than a serpent's tooth, and while the ending is a little too cosy as opposed to original noir wave conventions, this is pure noir in all but black and white photography.
It won only two Academy Awards, Basinger for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and for Hanson and Hegeland for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published. Frankly it should have won a dozen or so, for it's one of the best films of the 90s. 10/10
If this film really wanted to be a neo noir masterpiece it didn't have confidence or the nerve to push that envelope, Hanson's reluctance to embrace Noir and go with the safe money gives us, at the denouement, the happy Hollywood ending. The bad guys are all dead and 2/3 of the good guys live.