HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Cryptozoo
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
Trapped
We Need to Do Something
Falbalas
Vanguard
A-X-L
Injustice
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Moxie!
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
   
 
Newest Articles
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Straight Time No Chance
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, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
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 2155 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: