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Tightrope


Sordid, interesting, but struggling to climb out of its own sleaziness, 1984's TIGHTROPE is one of Clint Eastwood's more interesting performances of the eighties.

He plays New Orleans detective Wes Block. Constantly struggling to spend enough time with his daughters, he's forced to work almost every night as an emerging serial killer winds his way through Bourbon Street.

The twist in writer Richard Tuggle's (Escape from Alcatraz) screenplay is that the more sexually twisted the killer gets, the more Block realizes that he shares the same desires.

When the killer begins tracking Block and killing people around him, he pulls Block closer and closer into his web.

Eastwood is particularly good as a cop with none of the confidence or swagger of Dirty Harry Callahan. He's got skills as a detective, but its his weaknesses that the killer is exploiting.

Genevieve Bujold (Anne of a Thousand Days, Earthquake) is merely okay as a rape counselor who serves more as a plot devise than a real character.

Dan Hedaya (The Usual Suspects, Blood Simple) is very good as a fellow detective. Clint's real life daughter Alison Eastwood is very good as Block's older daughter, who finds herself terrifyingly close to the danger.

Writer Tuggle was in the director's chair, but its long been told that Eastwood took over after just three days of filming.

The nudity, sexuality and sleaze is piled on as only the 80's could do and it plays differently today, not in a good way.

That being said, Eastwood is very good and the final 30 minutes escalates into a strong crime thriller.

The TIGHTROPE here is the fine line that Eastwood's Block dances between dedicated family man and his darker urges that are far too close to his prey's. Credit Eastwood with a performance that allows you to see both sides of Block and still remain sympathetic.

We'll tie it up with a B-.

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