17 January 2005 | nigel_denning
Very underrated film
This film is nearly 20 years old, but still rates as one of the best movies I've ever seen.
Following the title sequence which sets the violent scene of car crime which forms the backdrop for this film, Peter Werner opens the film with a fairly protracted scene featuring the central character (22-year-old rookie cop, Benjy) in his home environment. This marks the start of some brilliant characterisation which underpins the whole film, causing the viewer not to perceive that there is a "villain of the piece". As an enviable friendship between Bengy and the police target, suspected ringleader and businessman, Ted Varrick (Charlie Sheen) develops, the viewer yearns to be in ether's shoes, as Ted welcomes Bengy to his world of the "rich and aimless". This envy is part based on the complex hedonistic and idealistic relationships between all the characters that evolves, but ultimately everything relies for its roots on Bengy and Teds crime sprees, something that ultimately must end.
The deterioration is palpable, and when ultimately the reckoning comes, it does so in series of twists that drive the two friends together (something very much cunningly engineered by Ted himself). The end represents a self fulfilling prophesy that left me craving for more, yet knowing there could be no sequel.
The contrast between the pair is very much a focal point, the only commonality being their devotion to their own goals - goals which for Bengy at least become very blurred, as Ted gives him the Porsche and the lifestyle that form the focus of his own existence. The domestic opening scene is a stark contrast for the remote, empty but undeniabley plush and palacial house that Ted "visits" rather than truly lives in, with its stunning view from the hills over the city.
The film is bolstered by some spectacular car chase sequences that are plausible in a way that modern sequences rarely are. They all involve Porsche 911's and if there is ever any incredulity it comes from these sequences only. Could an Oldsmobile ever keep pace with a works Porsche? How could an Iroc Z ever hope to keep up, and if it did, and crashed into the lightweight Porsche, how on earth does it fail to leave a scratch?
Romantic interest is enticingly present as Ted encourages the relationship between Bengy and his own sister Anne (Lara Harris) but it never manages to rival, nor is intended to rival the strength of the bond between Ted and Bengy.
Utterly brilliant for the most part, I've now watched this film 8 times.