The film is consistently enjoyable, and it delivers all the goods - suspense, action, romance, and drama - all in their proper amounts. It's a fun film that is really helped by the great actors in it!
In the Line of Fire (1993)
User ReviewsReview this title
The film is consistently enjoyable, and it delivers all the goods - suspense, action, romance, and drama - all in their proper amounts. It's a fun film that is really helped by the great actors in it!
holds her own as partner (and love interest) Lilly Raines. But the movie's
greatness rests on the shoulders of John Malkovich as "Booth". He captures
this character's rage and hatred, as well as his humanity oddly enough.
Personally I think this was his best performance and should have received an
Oscar for it (But I loved Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive as well that year). Overall a great movie to see you want to peek into an assassin's mind and be
on the edge of your seat the whole way through. Enjoy!!
Malkovich, Eastwood and Rene Russo all give wonderful performances in this top notch thriller. The direction is excellent and the entire picture is charged with tension and intrigue throughout.
A must see for thriller fans 8/10
Clint is Frank, a Secret Service agent who, perhaps in a moment of doubt, failed to catch the bullet that killed JFK. He then took to drink, which drove his family away, and now plods along in the bureaucracy until he is contacted by John Malkovitch, calling himself "Booth," who strikes up a sort of skewed relationship with him based on their shared, disillusioned conviction that everything is meaningless except the impulse to escape dreariness and predictability. Now, this is rather an anfractuous set of attitudes for a performer like Clint to project, but he does rather well, less robotic than usual. And he does seem to carry around with him, like a burden of stone, the memory of that moment in Dallas.
He's tested again halfway through this movie. He is hanging from the roof of a tall building, grasping Booth's hand, and he pulls his pistol and points it at Booth, who asks him if he is really willing to shoot. If he does, of course, he saves the president from an attempted assassination by a CIA-trained murderer, but he does so at the cost of his own life. Booth twits him about the situation as they hold hands in midair.
Later Clint even has a short speech, talking to Renee Russo, about his failure to save the president in Dallas. "If I'd have reacted quickly enough, I could have taken that shot . . . and that would have been alright with me." It's underplayed, but his voice chokes slightly, his eyes water, and his lip trembles. It's one of the few scenes in any of Clint's films that might properly be called "moving." We know from his newfound resolve that given another chance he would take the bullet this time. (The irony is that he doesn't like the current president. Who could? He gives pompous speeches in Colorado about how they "carved a nation out of the wilderness." Didn't they do the same thing in Las Vegas?)
It's often said that a movie is only as good as its villain. It isn't true, nothing is that simple, but an argument could be made for its truth value in this case. The reptilian John Malkovitch with his Tartar eyes is marvelous.
Talk about disillusioned. Okay, he can ham it up a little, sniffing with disdain even as he plugs two innocent hunters between the eyes, but he's fascinating on the screen. Renee Russo has little do to. Fred Thompson, as the chief White House aid, is now back in politics, a relief for movie-goers. If Clint's acting range is limited, Thompson's is something less. In every film he's been in, he wears the same solemn and dissatisfied expression, as if constantly plagued by some form of volcanic digestive disorder.
The direction by Wolfgang Peterson is as good as it was in "Das Boot," which is pretty good. There is a great deal of the usual suspenseful cross-cutting in the final shootout. And when Clint and Russo fall into an impassioned embrace in her hotel room and scuttle backwards towards the bed like two weasels in heat, Peterson playfully shows us their feet along with a succession of objects dropping to the floor -- not only the usual garments but handcuffs, guns, beepers, palm pilots, Dick Tracy wrist watches and other impedimenta. Interrupted, Clint lies back on the bed and sighs, "Now I have to put all that stuff back on again."
Well written and worth watching.
Hot on the heels of Unforgiven, he teamed up with The Perfect Storm director Wolfgang Petersen for one of the best thrillers of the decade - In the Line of Fire.
Imagine a cross between The Day of the Jackal and The Bodyguard and you get the idea.
Hollywood's craggiest leading man plays Frank Horrigan, a troubled bodyguard assigned to protect the US president against a psychopathic assassin.
John Malkovich delivers a stunning performance as the man on the end of the trigger and acclaimed German director Petersen directs with such skill, Eastwood even asked his advice when he came to direct A Perfect World.
Clint was 63 when he made this and brought a lifetime of experience to the role of a world weary Secret Service agent haunted by the fact he failed to save President Kennedy from the fatal bullet.
The clever use of a doctored photo by Hollywood whiz kids shows the actor/director stood at the side of JFK. A nice touch which is well worth looking out for.
To be honest, ITLOF is a cliched thriller, the sort of story which crops up most weeks as a glossy, no brain offering on Channel 5.
However, both director and stars took the well worn material and gave it a fresh spin, upping the tension several notches with each passing scene, resulting in a spectacular finale which is great value for money.
Rene Russo is so good she could play the part in her sleep. The former model adds a degree of mature charm to her role of an agent who Horrigan believes is mere `window dressing' for the department.
As with all of Wolfgang's movies, believability is everything. A rare degree of authenticity was achieved during the crowd scenes when the German film-maker integrated his fictitious President with the crowds from the Clinton and Bush election campaign.
The cost? A cool $4million.
The script had been knocking around Hollywood for a decade before it was dusted down and given a green light. It was originally to star Dustin Hoffman (who signed up for Petersen's follow up, Outbreak).
British director Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough) was due to direct the Hoffman version, but when David Puttnam took over as the head of Columbia in 1987, the movie was put on hold.
Producer Jeff Apple (a man more known in the trade for his interactive shopping shows than films) brought in Jeff Maguire to polish up the script.
The idea of Horrigan as an agent who failed to stop JFK's untimely death gave the movie a twist that Hollywood execs found delicious.
Before long, there was a feeding frenzy over the new, improved script and eventually, Rob Reiner's Castle Rock company snapped it up for a million dollars with Clint Eastwood on board.
Petersen had wanted Harrison Ford, but eventually cast him as the President in Air Force One (which you may remember was the film of the week a couple of weeks ago).
As any Clint fan knows, he's a jazz fan - a passion shared by Horrigan in what seemed to be a tailor made role adapted for old Mr Squinty after he signed on the dotted line.
However, Frank's love of piano and jazz was already on the page - a happy accident which helped turn Horrigan into one of Clint's most likeable big screen characters.
Top drawer stuff.
I really like this movie...I've seen it numerous times on TV and have recently bought it on DVD. Yet, it's not an excellent movie. The plot is way too thin and the attempts to thicken it are downright ridiculous. The whole love-story isn't very plausible and the way they brought an extra character into the story, just to be able to kill it off is kind of insulting to the more or less intelligent viewer. Though I feel these mistakes can't be forgiven, I can easily look past them to Mr. Malkovich exquisite performance. I've always deemed him to be a great actor but in this movie he's really on fire. There's a reason why he got an Academy Award nomination. Rene Russo and Clint Eastwood were okay, but I don't deem their performance to be memorable. They're never at the best of their abilities.
If you don't expect too much, you'll certainly like this movie. It's no masterpiece but John Malkovich is really extraordinary and I don't think anyone can't enjoy his performance. Really worth the watch...
Veteran secret service agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) is haunted by the memory of the day in November 1963 when he was guarding President Kennedy but failed to save him from being assassinated. That incident left him doubting whether he had the courage needed to risk his own life to save the President's and the guilt that he'd suffered since led him to drinking too much and suffering the breakdown of his marriage. When he receives a phone call from a man who threatens to kill the President, Horrigan seizes the opportunity to return to the Presidential Protection Detail because doing so could offer him the chance to redeem himself.
The potential assassin turns out to be a disillusioned ex-CIA agent called Mitch Leary (John Malkovich) who's very bitter about the way he'd been treated by the government and is seeking to take revenge by killing the President. He's obviously read a great deal about Horrigan's background and sees certain parallels in their experiences. Leary is very cool, clever and cunning and clearly has the ability to carry out his threat. He's also determined and recognises that he has "a rendezvous with death".
In his new role, Horrigan starts a relationship with a fellow agent, Lilly Raines (Rene Russo) and also runs into trouble with the Presidential Chief Of Staff, Harry Sargent (Fred Dalton Thompson) who orders him off the Detail when he raises the alarm at one of the President's re-election rallies after mistaking the sound of a bursting balloon for a gun shot. Horrigan then takes matters into his own hands and pursues his quarry until they eventually confront each other in the movie's exciting climax.
In a movie which is full of good performances, the contributions of Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich stand out. Frank Horrigan is something of a misfit among his colleagues due to his age, his sexism and his lack of fitness which becomes most apparent when he runs breathlessly alongside the President's car. He knows he's seen as a "borderline burn-out with questionable social skills" but also knows that his instincts are intact and despite being regarded as a dinosaur and being subjected to Leary's mind games, knows he has the experience and confidence to hunt down his adversary.
Clint Eastwood, in one of his most subtle performances, strikes the perfect balance in portraying his piano-playing tough guy's interesting combination of strengths and weaknesses and John Malkovich is wonderfully creepy as the dangerous psychopath whose CIA training and brilliant use of disguises make him a formidable threat and just the type of top class villain that this superior thriller deserves.
In The Line Of Fire casts Clint Eastwood as a veteran Secret Service Agent who was on the job in Dallas as a young man when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He's had his doubts ever since and been given to drink and his life at one time was a real shambles. He's gotten back on the White House detail now and when a potential assassin's landlady rats on her tenant to the Secret Service, it's Eastwood and partner Dylan McDermott who draw the case.
But the assassin is no ordinary crank case. He's a professional at his job, trained by and used by the Central Intelligence Agency. John Malkovich earned a deserved Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He lost that year to Tommy Lee Jones for The Fugitive and I'm not sure, but that I thought Malkovich was better.
Oddly enough Malkovich might have been better off, but he saw Eastwood as the agent in charge breaking into his apartment while on the job and he insisted on making the whole thing personal. He calls Eastwood throughout the film and taunts him. And after a while what Malkovich says and does causes Clint to get real personal.
The presidential assassins we've had in our history have been lucky amateurs, unless you believe in some of the conspiracy theories about some of the assassinations. A guy like Malkovich, a professional with a real or imagined grudge, is the most dangerous kind of foe.
Others to note in the cast are Fred Dalton Thompson as the White House chief of staff (and would be president in real life), Rene Russo as another agent who falls for the Eastwood masculine charm, John Mahoney as the Secret Service head, Gary Cole as the White House head Secret Service guy, Gregory-Alan Williams as another agent and Jim Curley and Sally Hughes as the President and First Lady.
But when Malkovich is on he owns In The Line Of Fire. The climax with him and Eastwood is unforgettable.
This is about an aging Secret Service guy who is haunted by his past. That past urges him to keep the current President safe at all costs with election nearing. Even if that means playing a cat-and-mouse game with someone who wants to kill the President.
As I said previously, Eastwood did very well. Even better is John Malkovich. I can't decide on who plays the better villain, Malkovich or Gary Oldman. But anyway, Malkovich is very creepy as the villain.
Overall, this is a top-notch thriller. There are plenty of action, thrills, and even a little romance. I rate this film 9/10.
Rene Russo is fairly low-key (for her), but that's fine and Eastwood plays the usual loner-cop role, not appreciated by his superiors but showing them all up in the end. I guess he couldn't stop playing the "Dirty Harry"-type figures, but he played them well.
There were some negatives this film, however, namely: credibility in parts as there were a couple of times, had this been real-life, the killer would have done away with Eastwood. The climatic scene, in particularly, had too many holes in it. There also were too many abuses of Lord's name in vain in here.
Overall, however, this is good, escapist fare.
Plot In A Paragraph: Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan (Eastwood) couldn't save Kennedy, but he's determined not to let a clever assassin (John Malcovic) take out this president.
In my my review of The Rookie, I said there was nothing new to see, and In The Line of Fire has a story similar to many of Eastwood's Dirty Harry movies, in which a psycho killer plays games with the cop, who is ordered off the case and then continues to investigate it anyway, regardless of what his superiors say, and he is helped by a loyal partner. The movie even supplies Clint with two partners.
However, despite the routine plot, In The Line Of Fire is not a rehash or retread of something we have seen before and it's not predictable (OK some of it is) what it is, is a tight, tense, well acted, well directed thriller, and whilst most action/thrillers these days are about stunts and action. In Tue Line Of Fire has a brain, and it sits in my Top 10 Eastwood movies.
In my review of The Rookie, I also said a movie is only as good as their villains, and In the Line of Fire has a great one in John Malkovic, who was deservedly nominated for an Oscar.
The one aspect of the movie I didn't like was the love story between Cline (62) and Rene Russo (39) it was totally unbelievable and out of place.
Clint was on a roll as In The Line Of Fire became Clint's biggest grossing movie to date, grossing $102 million dollars at the domestic box office to end the year as the 7th highest grossing movie of 1993. It was Clint's first in the Top 10 grossing movies of the year in a decade. It would sadly be the last time (to date) that a movie starring Clint made the Top 10.
I've mentioned in my summary that there were some minor plotting problems with this film so I will address these issues first; it's established early in the film that Horrigan blames himself for Kennedy's death and sees this assassination attempt as a means to prove to himself, and to everyone else, that he can adequately protect the President. OK, that's fine, but I wasn't completely taken with the way that the story was set-up (it came across to me as Horrigan being on some kind of self-pitying guilt trip). This is only a minor problem because despite this Horrigan is still focused on the job at hand and therefore it's still very easy to develop a rooting interest in his character - I only wish the story would have been set-up in a different way. I also felt that Leary's (John Malkovich) motivations were a little thin and not entirely believable. The pacing of the film is also a little uneven. Now for the good bits....
Where the film is at its strongest is in the various scenes between Horrigan and Leary. In these scenes, a slow-burning psychological battle of wits begins to develop between the two men (Leary clearly has the upper hand at the start, but Horrigan's dogged determination soon sees him begin to close the gap). Director Wolfgang Peterson makes many of these scenes cold and menacing by not showing all of Leary's face at the start - yes it's not original, but it's simple, effective and helps to create tension. The screenplay is also relatively clever and had enough intelligence and depth to make sure that my interest never truly waned.
The performances across the board are variable, but once again it's John Malkovich that steals the show from everyone here. Malkovich is one of my favourite actors and his sociopathic performance here was wonderful to watch. Eastwood is also good here and I liked the way that the writers made his character feel believable - he was in his early 60's when this was made and therefore his character is human here rather than super human (he has heart problems and fitness issues) which makes sense given his age and his lengthy career in a somewhat stressful job.
In The Line Of Fire is a very good film that is exciting, suspenseful and intense. There are also very few dull spots which isn't bad considering its running time. It's a race against time film/psychological thriller and the two elements mix well together creating a very impressive film.
Mitch Leary (John Malcovitch), a trained operative for the CIA who was laid off, claims he was double-crossed by the US government and wants revenge. What is this loose cannon's plan? He longs to kill the current president (Jim Curley, code name "Traveler"). Calling himself "Booth" (after you know whom) he takes the offensive and continually torments Horrigan on the telephone, explaining exactly what he intends to do. Booth had studied Frank Horrigan for years, and is so clever and conditioned and twisted that he is able to burrow deeply into the latter's mind. A master of disguise, Booth continually toys with Horrigan, recounting parallels in their life experiences. At other times, he creates bummers. For example, consider the scene when President Curley is holding an AFL-CIO rally in Chicago. Booth uses pins to pop display balloons, badgering Horrigan into believing that gunshots are being fired. Horrigan's actions caused disruption and humiliated the president, although the agent did show his self-assurance and quick reaction, and was even willing to take a hit for "Traveler." Now Frank has a partner, Al D'Andrea (Dylan McDermott), and the two of them had undermined a deadly band of Phoenix counterfeiters early in the film. D'Andrea, though, is fated for a different destiny even though for more than two-thirds of the film Horrigan and he tail Leary. The psychopath divulges that he could have killed Horrigan many times but left him alone ("I have allowed you to live so you show me some g**damn respect!"). And at one point the aging Horrigan nearly perishes from a rooftop fall. Now when the denouement eventually arrives, will he have the efficacy to save the president?
Malcovitch's acting is always of high quality. He is just so believable as a creep that one almost begins to hate him. Rene Russo may have come late to Hollywood (in her later thirties), but she already had polished acting tools and looks to match. Her role here is Lilly Raines, a capable and strong agent herself who is on presidential protection detail; later she becomes Horrigan's younger lover. Of course the beginning was rocky, especially after Horrigan made several offensive statements. But Raines eventually saw his masculine sensitivity, charm, and his real respect for her, and she shows her own capacity to fall in love.
This movie is a nice vehicle for Eastwood, a good actor who easily handles similar roles. Director Wolfgang Petersen created a competent film with a novel idea of a man obsessed with his inability to save a past president from a real, historical assassination. Those pictures and footages (digital effects) of a young Horrigan inserted into actual pictures of Kennedy are believable. Also, the sets are convincing (White House, Air Force One, police escort, rallies). The only drawback may be that the movie runs a few minutes too long. Recommended.
This movie is full of edge-of-your-seat excitement as Horrigan tries to track down Leary, and is an fascinating roller coaster ride in every scene involving the President, making you wonder if danger will strike.
I think the acting was superb, and I especially liked the chemistry between Clint and Rene Russo, whose character understands Horrigan. She gives the film the right amount of drama where appropriate. Arrogance never sits well with me, which is why I despised Gary Cole's character, Bill Watts. If Clint would have knocked him a few rounds, this film would have been a more satisfying viewing pleasure. In addition to the intensive thrills and drama, this movie could have used some more action scenes - lots of all talk and no action, But, what made up for it is the high-tension climax.
Overall, a pretty fascinating thriller with some of Eastwood's best work.
The only standout in this film was the performance of John Malkovich as the would be assassin. Other than that avoid this mess...
But there would be the risk of his part in the movie being slightly conventional (we still get the 'Harry' type scenes of him being smarter- and as smart-ass- over everyone else in the room, and being scolded and told to back off by the top brass, here a chief of staff), including here protecting a president that (wisely) we never really see or know at all. Even the romantic sub-plot, which is sort of undercooked if there for some machismo laughs, would make the picture a little sub-par if the other quasi-Dirty Harry aspect didn't come into the picture: an indelible villain. This time there's some extra Hollywood suspense, however brillaintly intelligent suspense (almost smarter than the rest of the movie deserves), with the "John Booth" character, played in an Oscar nominated performance by John Malkovich, as someone who's described more as a predator than an assassin. There's ways this could go wrong with the Eastwood character, but Malkovich possibly trumps some of his former villain counterparts by being extremely cool and un-collected (there's that devastating, cringe-worthy scene where he kills the bank teller and her roommate), and as his past is revealed, there's still that element of 'what the hell is with this guy' that keeps the audience and Eastwood's agent guessing and extra paranoid. It's a classic Malkovich performance, quintessentially creepy and always measured in the level of insanity and professionalism.
It's also, aside from the conventional points, just a sleekly made picture from Peterson and company, and they come pretty close to the spunky pulp realism of Don Siegel. But Peterson also has a couple of cinematic tricks up his sleeve that had me grinning at times; anytime someone puts in such a blatant but exciting homage to Vertigo- jumping from rooftop to rooftop, hero dangling from the ledge, the 'twist'- it still provides some shivers down my spine. There's also the phone conversations between Eastwood and Malkovich, where we see the depths of the cat and mouse game, probably another kick in the ribs to Hithcock. But in the end, even with all the excitement and brutal danger and crisp formalism in the climax, it's also a characters picture in some ways throughout, and everything is fairly realized to give the audience a fine amount to ponder over, at least in the suspense-movie sense. Eastwod's a great lead, Russo plays the female possible love-interest sincere and mature, and Malkovich is top of the pops. There's also a few notable supporting roles too, and a fine studio score in there. One of the better films of 1993.
There are, of course, differences between the two films. In "The Bodyguard" Costner's character, Frank Farmer, has left the Secret Service and now works as a private bodyguard for a female showbiz star. Eastwood's character, Frank Horrigan, still works for the Service. Whereas Farmer is still a comparatively young man, Horrigan is an elderly man approaching retirement, worried about whether he is still physically fit enough to cope with the demands of the job. (Eastwood was sixty-three at the time). Just as "Unforgiven" was Eastwood's final entry in the Western genre in which he made his name in the fifties and sixties, so he seemed to be using "In the Line of Fire" and "A Perfect World" (made in the same year) as his farewell to the cop thriller, another genre which he had come to make his own in the seventies and eighties.
In "In the Line of Fire", Horrigan must thwart a plot to murder the current President by an assassin. There is also a sub-plot about a growing romance between Horrigan and a younger female colleague, Lilly Raines. (Rene Russo, thirty-nine at the time the film was made, was often regarded in the nineties as one of Hollywood's "glamorous older women", but this did not prevent her from being cast here as the love-interest of a man old enough to be her father).
This may seem like the plot of an ordinary political thriller. Although there is plenty in the way of thrills and excitement, it is raised above the level of the ordinary by Wolfgang Petersen's taut direction and by the standards of acting, particularly the duel between Eastwood and John Malkovich as the assassin, who calls himself "Booth", after the murderer of President Lincoln. Unlike the real John Wilkes Booth, however, this man is no political fanatic. He is a psychopathic former CIA operative named Leary with no ideological motive for killing the President, who always remains an anonymous figure. (We never learn whether he is a Republican or Democrat, or even his name). Leary's motivation seems to be taedium vitae, a belief in the purposelessness of life and a desire for notoriety at all costs, even the cost of his own life, and he gets a thrill out of taunting Horrigan (to whom he has announced his intention to assassinate the President) and playing psychological mind-games with him. He knows that Horrigan's weakness is his sense of guilt stemming from the Kennedy assassination, and plays on it ruthlessly. Malkovich plays him as intelligent but unhinged, at times insinuating, at others raving, and he contrasts strongly with Eastwood's decent but haunted Horrigan. The result is one of the more intelligent political thrillers of the nineties, on a par with Eastwood's later effort, "Absolute Power". 7/10
Clint Eastwood is the seasoned star of action vehicles, working his screen image in a way that makes it seem impossible that anyone else could have played crusty Secret Service Agent Frank Horrigan. (Yet several other actors were considered for the part before him, including Robert Redford.) Eastwood, who is now in his late 80s, was a virile 63 when this picture was released, and still believable as the love interest of younger co-star Rene Russo.
The biggest plot hole – if one can call it that – is that everybody wants Frank off the case because he is, as his boss says, "too old for this sh*t". Even his girlfriend seems only to want to keep him around because she feels sorry for him. Nobody except for the wiretapping technicians seems to recognize the fact that since the self- proclaimed assassin keeps calling Frank, his presence somewhere in the vicinity is indispensable to protecting the president.
In one of his more accessible and memorable screen performances, veteran actor John Malkovich plays Mitch, a villain whose intensity makes you believe he is capable of anything. Although he has been in over sixty movies and TV productions, most moviegoers have probably seen Malkovich rarely, usually in supporting or even cameo roles. He is almost anonymous despite having appeared in such popular movies as "Con Air" (1997) and the eponymous cult film "Being John Malkovich" (1999).
There is a scene in which Mitch meets two hunters who see too much, and right before he kills them Mitch confesses that he plans to assassinate the president. "Why would you want to do that?" asks one of the hunters in stunned horror. It does not matter what these men think of the president, who is portrayed as a vapid chameleon. This movie belongs to a quaint time when the idea of assassinating any president of the United States struck the overwhelming majority of Americans as plain wrong even if you thought the occupant of the White House was an execrable son of a bitch.
The movie accompanies with a great memorable score,and a restrained but meaningful romance between Russo and Eastwood....which displays how difficult it is to have a romantic life in that kind of work. Malchovich is great,sure many other candidates could have played the role that he played,but how many could acted with such craftiness,and intellect that he displayed in the movie?
Needless to say,I thought this was a great movie...everytime it's on television I have to watch it..and I own it on dvd! I'm a big Eastwood fan,this only boosted his already fabulous career,and Malchovich's best role to date!