Trent Ling’s all-time “Top 40 Movie Chart” ranks his critically chosen winners from his personal, unique, inexplicable, logarithmic, and long-deliberated mosh process. Out of order, charted films up through 2012 will be revealed on this website. Enjoy! Visit “Movies” for more.
TWL Score: 6.8 (1987; Rated R; 114 Minutes)
This intriguing power-struggle mystery/drama unfolds amid the dog-eat-dog political culture of Washington, D.C. at the height of the US-Soviet Cold War. Defense secretary Brice (Gene Hackman), his icy right-hand man Pritchard (Will Patton), and his new recruit Farrell (Kevin Costner) see their allegiances tested and questioned across a thrilling two-hour arc. Unbeknownst to Brice and Farrell, they share the same love interest, Susan Atwell (Sean Young). From the moment this love triangle necessarily implodes, filmgoers are whisked away and set upon a dizzying rush toward a rather unpredictable but artful culmination.
Top 40 Catapults:
1. The triumvirate of Hackman, Costner, and Patton represent top-notch talent portraying genuinely drawn characters. Compelling, commanding, well defined, and most interesting, each of these main players continuously pushes the narrative and the pace. In addition, an apropos supporting cast supplements full and rich storylines with their own memorable cinematic moments. Neither cheap nor casual, this cast sizzles.
2. The frenetic velocity of events and the paralleling mystery crescendo in a most interesting and ironic conclusion. Most effectively, care for each individual has been cultivated well enough so as to make every scene count. This work, directed by native Australian Roger Donaldson, demonstrates how a rather standard Hollywood drama (on its face) can be transformed into an all-time great film when placed in the right hands eagerly ready to the make the most of the material and the talent.
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