14 June 2010 | BERSERKERpoetry
Let's talk about "the item".
Sentimentality doesn't add much to a story. So many films I've seen have been claimed as realistic, only to prove themselves attached to the common movie-making conventions of so-called "true stories". "Dead Man Out" is not a true story. But it is a believable one. Danny Glover and Rubén Blades have an intense personal interaction here, and a script that gives them every possible opportunity to explore it. These are two marvelous performances seen here, painfully convincing in depth.
This film's director, Richard Pearce - and cinematographer Michel Brault - worked together in 1981 on "Threshold". Like that film, they take a familiar set of circumstances, previously covered ground, and see it in a new and deeper way. One film was a medical drama, this is a prison film. It's both like and unlike so many other stories of similar focus. By stripping way down and neatly avoiding most clichés, "Dead Man Out" becomes a lean and muscular depiction of real people.