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Teen Movie Critic

Backtrack

by

Roger Davidson

Backtrack
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One of Dennis Hopper's usual weird directorial outings, this one involves the relationship between an eccentric hit-man (Hopper) and a murder eyewitness (Jodie Foster), who he's supposed to kill. At the start of the movie, Foster witnesses the murder of a mafia big shot, who is done in by his rival (Joe Pesci in an uncredited performance). Foster takes it on the lam from both the mafia hit-men and the FBI, who need her to identify Pesci.

Sounds good and suspenseful at first, but mostly it's just long and dull. Hopper is not one of the greatest directors either. His films (save Easy Rider) are usually uneven and the scripts are full of plot holes. This one is no exception. The supporting players, Pesci, Fred Ward as the head FBI agent in charge, Dean Stockwell as Pesci's mafia lawyer and John Turturro as Hopper's jumpy partner, make you wish for the good old days of James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. The two performances that lift this out of the gutter are Jodie Foster's and Vincent Prices'. Foster helps, because she brings an intelligence to her role, (as she always does) that none of the others seem to grasp within their characters. Price helps, because his mafia don depiction is just as delightfully ghoulish as many of his past character portrayals. The version I've reviewed is Hopper's "Directors' Cut" video edition. I understand that a different variation was released in Europe. Either way, I just can't seem to see what Hopper intended us as his audience to see.

My Rating = Two Stars


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