DIRECTOR: ROBERT TOWNE
Only the second film written and directed by Towne (Chinatown; Shampoo), the most celebrated screenwriter associated with the New Hollywood uprising of the 1970s. A crafty, intricately plotted, and deliciously deviant crime thriller evoking the grim Golden Age of California film noir—a tale in which no-one can be trusted, and plot twist ambushes lurk around every corner. Russell, commandingly skeevy and sporting a slicked-down look that was modelled after Pat Riley’s, is Nick, a seemingly straight-laced LA county police detective; Mel Gibson is “Mac,” Nick’s lifelong friend, a jailbird, ex-drug dealer, and all-around fuck-up that Nick’s now duty-bound to keep tabs on; Michelle Pfeiffer, in her finest hour, is Jo Ann, the irresistible, icy restauranteur that both men fall for, and hard. That might seem like quite enough complication, but Towne’s serpentine script has plenty more up its sleeve, and while the film’s storyline swerves hither-thither, its scrumptiously steamy, seamy atmosphere remains consistent.