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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ricochet Film Review

I watched Ricochet, this movie from 1991 starring Denzel Washington and John Lithgow. It's a dark and messed-up crime thriller. Washington plays Nick Styles, a rookie cop who shot a killer named Blake (Lithgow) and put him behind bars. Eight years later, Styles became a big-time cop and assistant D.A., and Blake has been obsessing over vengeance all this time. He breaks out of prison, kidnaps Styles, drugs him, and humiliates him on camera in various ways to ruin his career and public character. The plot continues as Styles tries to clear his name and get Blake, who is terrorizing people in order to get to Styles.

The movie was just very gritty. Washington's star was still rising at this time, as he hadn't become a leading man movie star yet, and his character is the hero, but also spends part of the movie doped up on cocaine and heroin, then is still out of it even after he is rescued, just drinking, disoriented, and slurring his words. It's a very different performance to see with Washington where he's not playing the confident hero, but a protagonist who can't speak or see straight and is losing his mind in trying to beat the killer.

Lithgow was really good in this. I thought he was hammy as the villain in Cliffhanger, but excellent as a serial killer in Dexter. Here, he finds a good balance between playing a psychotic killer and saying cheesy lines (often menacingly repeating the last words of whatever the hero said on TV) while not being ridiculous with it.

Ice T was also pretty good in this movie. He plays Odessa, a big-time drug dealer who was a childhood friend of Nick's, and acts as support to nab Blake, delivering some of the best lines of the movie in his uniquely raspy voice.

I enjoyed watching it, but can see why it's not well-remembered of Washington's movies. It is more of a B-level crime movie that doesn't showcase Washington as a typically handsome leading man. And often times, really violent crime thrillers like this are usually left to air on cable channels late at night, this gets pretty dark for mainstream Hollywood movies.

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