HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wildlife
X2
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
Heiress, The
Cold Pursuit
Firestorm
Dogs of War, The
Holy Mountain, The
Piercing
Under Fire
Jennifer on My Mind
People on Sunday
Lethal Weapon 4
Downhill Racer
Emily
Odette
Escape Room
Across the Pacific
Madeline's Madeline
You're Gonna Miss Me
Iron Sky: The Coming Race
Derby
Mortal Engines
Union City
Knife+Heart
Little Stranger, The
Sauvage
Watermelon Man
Wandering Earth, The
Good Fairy, The
Killer Party
Holmes & Watson
Monster in the Closet
Sand, The
Glass
My Brilliant Career
Knife for the Ladies, A
Man in the Attic
Destroyer
Fillmore
   
 
Newest Articles
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
   
 
  Straight Time No ChanceBuy this film here.
Year: 1978
Director: Ulu Grosbard
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Theresa Russell, Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton, M. Emmet Walsh, Rita Taggart, Kathy Bates, Sandy Baron, Jake Busey, Edward Bunker, Peter Jurasik
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman) has been behind bars for six years on a robbery conviction, but now he has been released, though he still has to report to his parole officer Earl Frank (M. Emmet Walsh) and suffer many restrictions on his movements and what he is allowed to do. After failing to find the halfway house he was meant to attend for the night, he visits Frank and gets hassled by him for not following his orders, but keeps his cool knowing if he wants to go straight he has to do whatever this man tells him to. Yet the whole administration of ex-convicts seems to want to force him into becoming a recidivist...

Straight Time was to be star Hoffman's first ever directorial effort having established his great worth as a leading man in the character actor mould, but it didn't work out that way and after a few days on the set he called in Ulu Grosbard to take over the helm. Grosbard, a successful theatre director, had dabbled in movies before, including one starring Hoffman with the memorable title Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying These Terrible Things About Me? which was an underperformer at the time, but evidently Hoffman had been impressed enough to want to work with him again. This was a far better prospect, as Grosbard showed his skill with actors in many scenes where the characters simply talked to each other.

That did not mean the elements which strayed closer to the crime thriller genre were neglected, as there were a couple of heists late on which demonstrated a solid tension, but it was the personalities that both star and director were more interested in and it showed. Especially in the first half, which detailed the hardship an ex-con trying to sort his life out went through, with Walsh a superb villain who ostensibly is supposed to be helping Max, but ends up determined to catch him out at some wrongdoing which Max is just not taking part in. Every time he shows up in the former cirminal's life it's bad news, and he even marches him back to prison when he thinks he's been drugtaking at one point.

So eventually the inevitable happens, and being treated like a criminal makes up Max's mind to start acting like one once again, and in a memorable scene for anyone who has had to put up with a conniving and bullying authority figure, he gets a humiliating revenge on the parole officer and sets about going back to robbery as a method of making a living. This was based on a novel by prisoner and writer Edward Bunker, whose other cult movie claims to fame included appearing as Mr Blue in Reservoir Dogs, and he shows up in one scene too, so there's an undeniable authenticity about the plot and even the incidentals as Bunker spoke of what he knew. Fans of far slicker crime drama would be intrigued to know Michael Mann worked with him on an early draft of the script.

Theresa Russell was the love interest, the office worker at the employment agency who Max gets to chatting up and ultimately romancing, a glimpse of a woman who could have signalled the way back to respectability if society hadn't mistrusted Max so badly, but unfortunately the effect of him staging robberies was to make it look as if Frank, and those like him, had been right all along instead of highlighting a genuine problem. Certainly the main issue ex-cons have is not returning to their old ways, but in this telling it looked incredibly easy to slip back, no matter how devastating the results for all concerned. Still, there were excellent performances to appreciate, with Harry Dean Stanton as Max's partner in crime who is only too pleased to welcome him back into the world of small time crooks, and Gary Busey as his more callow friend whose wife (Kathy Bates in an early role) warns Max away from, another character who suspects he cannot be trusted. Music by David Shire.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1248 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Rachel Franke
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
   

 

Last Updated: