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Alfred Chamberlain
09-09-2010, 10:08 PM
I love this movie & think it deserves its own thread. I think it's top 2-3 of its decade (along with Safe and Gummo) and the best of Penn's directorial work. It extends or defines the careers of some of my favorite screen movers (Bronson, Hop, Viggo, Morse, Dennis, Arquette) -- Viggo's performance here is one of the most dangerous and honest of its era. It's dedicated to two of my favorite filmmakers, JC & Ashby, and the collage sequences rank with Don Siegel's best work. Oh, and the 60s/60s-vibe soundtrack is righteous.

Time to shout out your love for this oft-overlooked classic!

Randy Thomas G
09-09-2010, 10:20 PM
I think it was a very promising debut from Penn. I believe the storyline is actually based on a song by Bruce Springsteen called Highway Patrolman, but haven't seen this mentioned anywhere.

I hope Penn gets to direct more films, I need to check out Into the Wild.

Aaron G
09-09-2010, 10:23 PM
It's a good film, but what I really like is one of my favourite modern American writers, HARRY CREWS, has a cameo in it as the father of the boy who gets shot.

Daniel M
09-09-2010, 10:31 PM
^ Yup, Harry Crews (THE GYPSY'S CURSE is my favorite work from him) and Charles Bronson's presence push this one over the top for me.

Not to go off topic, but Sean S. Cunningham is another Crews admirer. HC did some uncredited writing on THE NEW KIDS, and Cunningham was always trying to get a film version of GYPSY'S off the ground back in the late 80s / early 90s.

Tom D
09-10-2010, 12:27 PM
I like the film as well. It reminds me of movies from the late 1960s-mid 1970s.

Ross Meyer
09-10-2010, 12:38 PM
Bronson is amazing in this one. I wish he was given more chances to play closer to his actual age toward the end of his career instead of always being typecast as tough vigilantes. (Even though I do love me some Bronson-kicking-ass action movies.)

Also, the Bruce Springsteen inspiration off of the Nebraska album is well worth listening to (the whole album for that matter) if you're not familiar with it.

John G.
09-10-2010, 01:39 PM
Bronson is amazing in this one. I wish he was given more chances to play closer to his actual age toward the end of his career instead of always being typecast as tough vigilantes. (Even though I do love me some Bronson-kicking-ass action movies.)
I love Bronson too, in the 80s, but it's a shame that this role didn't lead to a late career renaissance for him and unfortunately Bronson went on to end his career with made for TV stuff and the unfortunate DEATH WISH 5. :(

Ron S
09-10-2010, 01:56 PM
I guess this is why I read this forum.

I was completely unaware of this movie, but have always loved the song Highway Patrolman. For someone like Penn to seize it and flesh it out into full story is intriguing to say the least. I'll have to check this one out.

Alfred Chamberlain
09-10-2010, 07:40 PM
I think it was a very promising debut from Penn. I believe the storyline is actually based on a song by Bruce Springsteen called Highway Patrolman, but haven't seen this mentioned anywhere.

It's actually mentioned in the opening credits. "Inspired by the song..." or some such.


I hope Penn gets to direct more films, I need to check out Into the Wild.

It has its moments, but I find it to be easily the weakest of his directorial works. Fine acting, as always, but the hokiness factor in this one is over-the-top, even for Penn. The Eddie Vedder score is enough to want me to open a vein...after I open his.

RichardDoyle
09-10-2010, 09:07 PM
It has its moments, but I find it to be easily the weakest of his directorial works. Fine acting, as always, but the hokiness factor in this one is over-the-top, even for Penn. The Eddie Vedder score is enough to want me to open a vein...after I open his.

I definitely agree. After 3 very challenging and interesting films, this one felt like one that wasn't trying very hard at all.

Alfred Chamberlain
09-10-2010, 10:10 PM
I definitely agree. After 3 very challenging and interesting films, this one felt like one that wasn't trying very hard at all.

The Pledge is quite wonderful in many ways, and The Crossing Guard is good, but The Indian Runner has been unmatched in his work. I really think he accomplished with it in an artistic way what QT does in an high-style entertainment way -- referencing earlier works, actors, styles, and periods.

I'm unfamiliar with Harry Crews, but if he is the fella that bursts into "John Henry" while being dragged out of of the jailhouse...holy shit. Utterly unforgettable moment.

Bronson stands out because he had so few roles like this, but I don't think he overshadows Hopper here. Might just be the peek of his career in terms of nihilism, which is saying a lot...

Randy Thomas G
09-11-2010, 04:40 AM
It's actually mentioned in the opening credits. "Inspired by the song..." or some such.


Ah, it's been a while since I've seen the film so I didn't remember that, if I ever caught it the first time I saw it. Anyone who reads the storyline can spot it instantly though.

Jonathan H.
10-11-2010, 04:29 PM
Just watched last night after picking up the disc on Amazon Marketplace. I had this on laserdisc back in the day, but never watched all the way through. A very mature, accomplished first feature. Penn comes very close to replicating the feel of his beloved '70s American New Wave films and the dedication to Ashby and Cassavetes is quite apt. Morse and Mortensen are both excellent and, being that I'm on a Bronson kick right now, I cherished his role here and wish he had even more to do. His scenes are just heartbreaking and it's a performance to show those that think Bronson can't act or is completely devoid of any range. Love that this is based on a song off of NEBRASKA.

Guillaume P
10-14-2010, 09:48 AM
I love this movie & think it deserves its own thread. I think it's the best of Penn's directorial work. Viggo's performance here is one of the most dangerous and honest of its era.
Time to shout out your love for this oft-overlooked classic!

I agree with all of this...very good,moving,raw film,best from his director and very fine performances from all the casting.