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  • Exciting thriller plenty of suspense and action , dealing with the kidnapping of a FBI agent's son and the desperate chase of the murderer who has him . As a F.B.I. agent named Frank LaCrosse (Dennis Quaid) goes home to encounter has been broken into and his son is missing . He is following the clues of a brutal serial killer whose massacre stretches nearly two years . Frank's relentless pursuit leads to Amarillo , Texas , where two more victims have been found slashed to death and the enigmatic series killer goes on his crime spree . As Frank join forces with the local Sheriff named Buck Olmstead (R. Lee Ermey) and his Deputy Nate Booker (Ted Levine) to search for his suspect , elusive killer , and all of whom investigate the murders before he disappears perhaps forever into the Rocky mountains . Meantime , a drifting previous medic named Lane Dixon (singer/actor Jared Leto) is picked up by an ex-railroad man , an African-American named Bob Goodall .

    This is a thrilling film that contains intrigue , noisy action , suspense , chases and plot twists . The highlights result to be the train confrontation and the surprise ending . Interesting and thrilling screenplay by the same director Jeb Stuart who debuts in this enjoyable flick . Intriguing narrative is well developed , as we are interested on the events are we are really cared what happens to this people . According to an interview with Jeb Stuart in Premiere magazine, he had originally intended to make this movie back in the early 1980's under the title 'Going West in America', with Sidney Poitier, Robert Duvall, and Kevin Bacon in the three main roles . Magnificent acting by the protagonist trio as Dennis Quaid , Jared Leto and Danny Glover . Excellent support such as Ted Levine as Deputy Nate Booker , Leo Burmester as Clyde 'Shorty' Callahan , Walton Goggins as Bud , William Fichtner as Chief Jack McGinnis and special mention to Lee Ermey as Sheriff Buck Olmstead . Furthermore , a rousing and stirring original musical score by Basil Poledouris . Colorful and evocative Cinematography by Oliver Wood . The motion picture was well directed by Jeb Stuart in his film debut . Stuart is a prestigious screenwriter , he wrote successful films such as ¨The fugitive¨, Die Hard¨ , ¨Another 48 hours¨ , ¨Lock up¨ , ¨Fire down below 2¨ and ¨Just cause¨ . He only has directed two films ¨Switchback¨ and ¨Blood done sign my name¨ , both of them failed at box office ; however , ¨Switchback¨ is today pretty well considered . The picture will appeal to Dennis Quaid and Jared Leto fans .
  • I saw this film for the first time on late night television after returning from the cinema where I saw the disappointing 'Along Came a Spider'. There are similarities, but Switchback is by far the better film. Jeb Stuart has done a terrific job keeping us at the edge of the couch and there are very few cliches around. Danny Glover and the entire cast are just right, and all the characters, even the minor roles, are three-dimensional. The story centres on a young handsome hitchhiker picked up and befriended by the serial killer. But this is no ordinary serial killer -- he is Mr. Popularity along the mountain roads where they travel in buddy movie-fashion. But not for long. The killer isn't out to make new friends. What he is doing is cleverly framing the loner-hitchhiker (finger prints on murder weapon etc) so that the law will be searching for the hitchhiker, and not the real killer. That is the killer's modus operandi. So here we have this handsome hitchhiker with a mysterious past (a doctor who ran away) and a killer with a bloody past who is on the run. Enter an FBI agent (Dennis Quaid) who is wanted by the FBI. The FBI want Quaid off the case. But Quaid is a determined man: the serial killer, who he has tracked for 18 months, has kidnapped his son....All of these outsiders come through a small town where the local sheriff loses the election by opting to help the truant FBI agent find the real killer... Three quarters of the way through the film, everyone is chasing someone and the tension keeps mounting along with the altitude.

    The killer has left a note with a cryptic clue that Dennis Quaid must decipher. But the key to his son's whereabouts lies elsewhere.....

    This is a fresh breath of writing into a genre that has been abused and neglected of late. There are nice echos of our favourite films noir (...the hitchhiker, the loner, the car accident.....the guessing came about who is who...). There's a touch of The Fugitive, but not too much. On top of all the good acting, casting, plotting and suspense, there's nice atmosphere and locations in the Rockies.
  • Wow, this is an intense story that should keep you interested for the full two hours. The five main roles are all men and they are pretty interesting, led by Danny Glover's character, who is very, very creepy.

    I'm hesitant to say much about this film for fear of giving anything away for those who have not seen it. Suffice to say its a rough movie in regards to language, violence and general attitude but the story grabs you quickly and is tough to put down once you are into it.

    One complaint I read said this film never made it big because it was too convoluted a storyline. In fact, the story isn't really pieced together until the last few minutes. Well, a lot of films over the years were like that (Charlie Chan and Sherlock Holmes mysteries, just to name two) and no one complained.

    The fact that FBI agent Dennis Quaid would figure things out to the exact minute does stretch credibility so don't look for a film that makes a lot of sense: it's simply a very tense thriller that entertains, so it serves its purpose.

    Lee Ermey, the fanatical drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket, also is fun to watch in here. Jared Leto and Ted Levine also contribute nicely. It's a man's film, for the most part and an effective diversion for two hours.
  • Switchback was an enjoyable mystery/thriller with a few nice action sequences. Quaid's character seemed a bit cliche to me (like he was impersonating a dour Harrison Ford) but Glover's character was unique and interesting. This movie didn't have a lot of surprises or plot twists, but director Jeb Stuart managed to keep my interest high by using well drawn and likeable characters and by keeping a lot of balls in the air from the beginning of the movie. With the exception of the serial killer himself, the conflicting motivations of the characters played well with the story and provided plenty of tension. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of the serial killer himself. This is possibly the first movie I've seen where the killer had a human face and was not a psycho mastermind genius or a low-life loner with a chip the size of Manhattan on his shoulder.
  • Tequila-1811 October 1999
    I was surprised by this film quite a bit. I thought it would be another mediocre paint-by-the-number genre piece. To my amazement Switchback is a taut and suspenseful film. Its fun to see Danny Glover cast against type. By no means a masterpiece, but well worth watching by thriller fans
  • Ross-452 September 1999
    I liked just about every aspect of this movie. The local police aren't portrayed as a bunch of inbred idiots, the killer isn't portrayed as maniacal and impersonable, and the FBI agent isn't just a suit with all the personality of a tube of toothpaste. All of these combine to make a refreshing murder mystery/thriller. This isn't the classic "who dun it?" type of murder mystery; rather, it is more in the flavor of "Silence of the Lambs", where we discover who the killer is long before the end of the movie, and the suspense comes from anticipating the hero catching the villain.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is one of my favorite movies. A very menacing storyline if you pay attention. Danny Glover is fully believable in the role of a serial killer, Bob Goodall. His eyes and smile convey an extreme homicidal persona one second, but just friendly and laid back the next. I have never seen any actor portray this kind of character as well as Mr. Glover. One of the most convincing scenes is when he follows the attractive female clerk into the store room of a country store. His demeanor, very understated, reflects a trusted friend until he enters the room and says a few words to her and his facial expression, still subdued, completely changes in an instant, going from friend to most dangerous. Hard to describe, but his acting was superb as a psychopath and I recommend this movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Formally a thriller, this film is in fact a rather substantive morality play about the price of integrity. Everyone in the film is called upon to make a moral choice that reflects who and what they are. And choosing has a price. Sheriff Olmstead played masterfully by R. Lee Ermey--once observes that "He--FBI agent Frank La Crosse--told the truth, and once you tell the truth, everything else is just cheap whiskey." Olmstead's observation pretty much sums up the film. Virtue is good whiskey. Laughably, Ermey delivers this line spot on with a bottle of Jim Beam--definitely not good whiskey--in the background. Olmsteads's integrity costs him the sheriff's election. His elective replacement, Chief McGinnis, played by William Fichtner, initially comes across as a pompous ass: but even he makes a virtuous choice that eventually costs him. Jared Leto who plays Lane Dixon, a burned out physician who strangely bonds with the killer, is another case of self-discovery through moral agency. Even Bob Goodall--a.k.a Danny Glover--the clearly insane serial killer, has a kind of warped integrity. Twisted, yes; but true to his "twistedness". FBI agent La Crosse's observation that the killer, Bob Goodall--the name is hardly accidental--may be a murderer but is not a liar simply underscores the film's larger Stoic themes. As Epictetus put it: "Be one man, bad or good." This film, written and directed by Jeb Stuart should have received more critical attention. It is a thoughtful and philosophically reflective film that paid a price for its quirky moral subtext and integrity: it flopped at the box office. Philosophical films, even subdued ones, are generally not money makers--even with decent writing such as this and a popular genre that should have been an appropriate vehicle for its message. However, even for an unreflective viewer this is an entertaining film directed and written by the same guy--Jeb Stuart--who wrote the screenplays for "Die Hard" and "The Fugitive".
  • As a thriller, this had some holes. For starters, Stuart identifies the killer too early (at least, I figured it out), so some tension is robbed). The postcard thing never really made any sense to me. And though it's clear who the killer is, his identity raises questions about how Quaid's son is kept without the authorities knowing. But I can forgive a lot of that because we care about the characters. Quaid, Ermey, and Glover, are three of our finest character actors, and they make us interested in their characters. Also, Ted Levine offers fine support, and Jared Leto creates mystery in his role when there wasn't a whole lot written in.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Almost an oxymoron, isn't it? A well-done serial murderer story? Yet they do come along from time to time. This one isn't as innovative as "Seven," not as well observed, but it's still above average.

    The killer, the affable Danny Glover, arranges to take the hitch-hiking, unwitting Jared Leto on a trip through the Colorado mountains in the middle of winter. Glover, whose identity is unknown to any social control agents, is being pursued by a local police department, R. Lee Ermey in charge, and a loose cannon FBI agent, Dennis Quaid, whose son Glover has kidnapped and stashed away somewhere.

    Half the film has Glover driving his white El Dorado, festooned with pics of Playmates of the Month, through a convincingly snowy landscape. The other half deals with the reluctant cooperation between Ermey and Quaid. Ermey finally decides to throw the law books out the window and join Quaid in his personal quest. The climax brings Glover, Leto, and Quaid together in the caboose of a freight train plowing its way through a mountain pass and turns the movie into what is more or less a formulaic bang up.

    Two things contribute to the quality of the film. One is the location shooting. Everything looks cold, bare, gloomy, and windswept. The landscape seems to be hibernating and waiting for spring. The other thing is Danny Glover's performance as the serial killer. He's great. A Scatman Crothers whose big grin and avuncular manner barely manage to mask the vicious psychopath beneath. Glover's character has worked these mountain passes for the railroad before. Everyone in the small towns along the route and on the job seem to know and love him -- and he's a black guy too. It says volumes about our national change in attitude that someone was willing to cast an African-American actor as a charming murderer of white people, and Glover justifies the risk that was taken.

    Quaid is stolid, stuck in the humorless role of the anxious but determined father. Jared Leto can't really act at all. And there are clichés in abundance. The car that rolls off the road and hangs on the edge of a cliff while its occupants try to crawl out of the wreck. It's held up by a single tree, which cracks and allows the vehicle to plunge into the valley, while Leto hangs onto some projecting roots by his fingertips.

    But it's Danny Glover who redeems the film. At the start, we only see him as an amiable guy, and only gradually do we come to suspect his identity as the killer. The first time he uses his knife, the victim is an old friend with whom he has shared his childhood. It's a truly chilling scene. Glover's friendly smile fades into a scowl while the puzzled victim simply stares back at him. Then there is Glover's death. He's knocked from a speeding train and does a series of somersaults down a snowy slope, yipping and yelling along the way, like Major Kong riding the catastrophic bomb in "Doctor Strangelove." What a job he does.

    At heart, it's just another serial killer story but -- here we must all get on our knees and thank heaven for small favors -- the killer doesn't leave puzzling clues behind based on "Alice in Wonderland" or The Seven Deadly Sins or the first folio of Billy Shakespeare's works or the seven levels of Inuit hell. There's only one teasing clue, and it doesn't require a trip to the library to solve it. There's really very little gore, and no violence except for a few minutes at the end.

    You'll probably like it.
  • this is by far a very differemt serial killer movie than other ones I've seen. it really makes you fall in love with or hate the characters. i have to say these days there are a lot of serial killer films , that people have to be killed in, but when they do die we neither feel happy or sad towards their deaths.

    all the parts were played well and the casting was well chosen. there's not many twist or unexpected stuff at the end cause they were all revealed in the middle og the film , and that disappointed me cause i like to keep guessing the killer towards the film.

    its a for sure recommendation. WATCH IT!! 7.6/10
  • I remember the first time i see this and become one of my favorites movies of the 90's.

    I know what your thinking we already see this movie before but the big difference here is the actors,the direction and of course the script.

    Dennis Quaid,Danny Glover,Jared Leto and R lee Ermey are the powerful cast of this movie.

    The direction of Jeb Stuart is more than incredible he never leave you to take a breath and give you the enough suspense to keep stuck to the TV for almost 2 hours.

    The script is clever,intelligent and very very entertainment you never gonna yawn in all movie.

    I am glad to see this movie years ago and i always recommended who haven't see it...Like one of the best thrillers of the 90's.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was one of the best movies of that year, but no one's ever heard of it. That is one DVD I pull out on a dreary Sunday and watch twice. This flick also made me a Jared Leto fan. Leto, in the bar scene was very James Dean. The twist of Glover coming to his rescue still surprises me though I have seen it about 20 times. Quaid I can take or leave in any movie, he has a Harrison Ford quality about him, that I just don't find appealing. Movies in recent months have reminded me of it, certain plot lines, and minor details, but this is an original. Kudos to our favorite drill sarge for his outstanding role.Finally, if you have not heard Jared Leto's band, 30 seconds to mars, you are missing out.
  • Gunn8 April 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    I guess critics feel they have to criticize. Must be fun looking for flaws rather than enjoying a movie for what it is...a movie! If everyone did this, there'd be no James Bond, no Tarzan, no Lethal Weapon series, no Die Hard series and many more. Getting back to the subject at hand, "Switchback" is an extremely tense, terrific action film and is much like a ride on a roller-coaster. The cast is fine. Danny Glover as a villain, R. Lee Ermey as always dependable, Jared Leto in one of his best roles, Dennis Quaid good in the lead role and all the others in the cast were very good. The action stunts were great and I'm sure they used miniatures in the train scenes but they looked flawless. Basil Poledouris' score was effective. The script was fun and come on you gotta use a little imagination too. Sure there were a few loose ends but all in all this movie entertains and what more do you want, a social message or a Disney feeling? Come on people, quit looking for errors and enjoy the thing for what it is...entertainment.
  • Switchback is one of my favourite 'serial killer vs. cop' thrillers of the 90's, and has seemingly slipped through the cracks these days. It has a special place in my heart, because as a kid my father would take me to his office at work, where I would catch a lot of cool movies on what was back then called 'TBS Superstation'. I once saw a few quick moments of this one, and wondered for years what film it was. A couple years back I tracked this one down because it stars a bunch of actors I really like, and was pleasantly surprised to have my childhood memory jogged, and finally find out what movie I had seen. It's got a solid, able bodied cast that's speckled with both prominent, square jawed leading dudes and some salty character actors as well, to spice things up. The film starts off as jovial Bob Goodall (Danny Glover) picks up mysterious hitchhiker Lane Dixon (Jared Leto) somewhere in the remote northwest. The two strike up a rapport, but we know that one or both will ultimately figure in the other half of the story, where things get decidedly sinister. Many miles away in another state, renegade FBI agent Frank Lacrosse (Dennis Quaid, turning off his smiling charm a quiet, smouldering turn as a guy at the end of his rope) searches for his infant son, who was kidnapped several years before by a dangerous serial killer. His search leads him to Amarillo, Texas, where he's both aided and stymied by local law enforcement. Kind, caring Sheriff Buck Olmstead (R. Lee Ermey, one my favourite character actors) and his deputy Nate Booker (Ted Levine, always reliable) do all they can for him, but in the midst of a reelection, their efforts are somewhat sabotaged by rival candidate Jack McGinnis (William Fichtner), causing delay in the investigation. Meanwhile, Glover and Leto draw closer and closer to a violent conclusion as the tension grows, inevitably tying in with Quaid's story. It's a crisp, no nonsense thriller that wastes no time bounding out of the gate, and yet never feels rushed. As Glover and Leto travel we are treated to some gorgeous, snowy Colorado scenery, captured nicely by DOP Oliver Wood. I revisit this one from time to time and am never let down at its tension, performances and skillful execution. A fair bit overlooked in thriller-ville as well, I might add.
  • You can't beat a good "serial killer thriller" . . . but with friendly Danny Glover as the perp? This I had to see. Well, Danny pulled it off admirably. He managed to be chilling and yet, you couldn't help but admire some of his attributes (the non-lethal kind!)

    I've viewed few features where every last cast member seems to have been hand-picked to carry across the plot and flavor of the piece throughout. "Switchback" managed just that. A great movie!
  • Dennis Quaid and Danny Glover did a decent job in their character roles for Switchback. I was especially fond of R. Lee Ermey, the Sheriff, (who played the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket "Private Pyle; what is your major malfuction?"). Being a fan of movie music (and Basil Poledouris), the score kept right up with the action. It's too bad that it didn't do well at the box office; lots of good scenery, especially the railroad fight sequences. I'd recommend this movie to Glover, Quaid (and Ermey) fans!
  • throughout this noirish thriller, and it doesn't look easy. Otherwise, the acting is fine and the story is full of interesting twists and details. Watch this film late at night, alone -- it definitely will keep you awake until the very end, when you might sit up and say Huh? No, really, it's a good film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The extremely well chosen cast raises the value of this thriller a notch, in this tale of a somber FBI agent, Frank LaCrosse (Dennis Quaid) in relentless pursuit of a serial killer. For Frank the pursuit has become personal because this particularly crafty and odious killer has abducted his son. The movie intercuts between Frank's story and that of drifter Lane Dixon (Jared Leto), who's hitched a ride with gregarious character Bob Goodall (Danny Glover). Eventually the two stories are brought together, and a confrontation occurs on a train passing through some mountains.

    As those who have seen this will tell you, "whodunit" is not at all the hook of the story. Debuting filmmaker Jeb Stuart (who had co-written "Die Hard" and "The Fugitive" for the screen) cares far more about his characters - and telling the tale - than trying to dazzle the audience with elaborate action set pieces. Granted, the movie does eventually head in that direction, but this is one of those rare cases where the action serves the story rather than the other way around.

    And these characters are people we can actually get to like - even the psycho, who does have a certain charisma about him. You can see how his victims wouldn't feel threatened by him until it was too late. Filling out the rock solid supporting cast are R. Lee Ermey as the small town sheriff who is moved by Franks' predicament, Ted Levine as his loyal deputy, William Fichtner as the smarmy lawman trying to move in on Ermey's job, Leo Burmester as amiable mechanic Shorty, and in small parts, Brent Hinkley, Walton Goggins, Ted Markland, Gregory Scott Cummins, Maggie Roswell, Allison Smith, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Kevin Cooney, Merle Kennedy, and Sandy Ward. Glover is engaging as Bob while Quaid is wonderfully understated.

    Those aforementioned action scenes are rousing, and there's a great deal of impressive rural vistas well shot in Panavision.

    "Switchback" is lengthy, but worth the effort for fans of the genre.

    Seven out of 10.
  • "Switchback" begins with a murder and a kidnapping. The next thing we know, an FBI agent, Frank LaCrosse (Dennis Quaid) arrives in Armarillo, Texas, looking for a serial killer. The MO of the murders there matches that of the killer he's been tracking for some time.

    In a parallel storyline, a good ol' boy, Bob Goodall (Danny Glover) driving a wild Cadillac gives a ride to a young man, Lane Dixon (Jared Leto) with a mysterious past -- at one point, a man is choking in a coffee shop and Lane announces he's a doctor and gives the man a tracheotomy. But he won't discuss it with Goodall.

    And in a third subplot, the town of Amarillo is preparing for a big election of sheriff, and the fight is between the current Sheriff Buck Olmstead (R. Lee Ermey) and police chief Jack McGinnis (William Fichtner). In the midst of their murder investigation, Olmstead learns that FBI agent Frank LaCrosse was removed from the case and is on probation with the FBI.

    All these plots fit neatly together.

    "Switchback" is an exciting film with sequences that will have you on the edge of your seat, particularly those on the train. In a funny way it reminded me of a less glossy version of a James Bond film, in that the stunts were wild, with characters hanging off of cliffs, dangling from trains, in horrible car accidents - it never lets up.

    The plot is a little far-fetched and the ending predictable, although some elements are left open. But it has moments of real thrills and tension, with good performances by Glover, Quaid, and Jared Leto who always looks so drop dead gorgeous in movies. "Monk" star Ted Levine (Leland Stottlemeyer) plays a deputy, and if you look fast, you'll see Shield's Walt Goggins as one of the sheriff's men. Fortunately both have gone on to deserved success.

  • To comment on the actors' roles would be to give away a critical piece of the plot. Suffice it to say that this is an excellent murder mystery with a surprise ending.

    Stars Quaid and Glover notwithstanding, R. Lee Ermey actually gives the best performance (as the local sheriff).

    Ted Levine must need the work. After Jame Gumb in Silence of the Lambs, his character here seems too milquetoast for him.

    Cinematography and sounds are top-notch.
  • Definitely a Good suspense/thriller........should have been rated nearer to an 8 to an 8.5 rating. Danny Glover does an excellent acting job. There are enough turns and twists in the plot to keep one's interests all the way through the movie, in my opinion.
  • Jewels-68 October 1998
    Okay, this movie wasn't the best movie ever made but Dennis Quaid and Danny Glover were great, and Jared Leto stole the scene with his big, beautiful eyes: as usual. As for the plot, it was scary, and kind of gross, but all around good. I'd recommend this movie to watch, if you like the suspense/mystery thing.
  • An FBI agent (Dennis Quaid) tries to catch a serial killer (Danny Glover) who kidnapped his son.

    "Switchback" received negative reviews from critics and holds a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 25 reviews. The film bombed at the box office, grossing just $6 million domestically off a budget of $38 million. This criticism is wrong, and I suspect if they were to reflect now (2015) they might be more positive.

    This is a strong cat-and-mouse thriller that has a nice change of pace: a serial killer who happens to be black. This defies the stereotype, and allows him to get away with much more while on the run. Very clever. We also have some actors who were not as big then as they are now. Jared Leto's career has only gone up, and Ted Levine really made a name for himself with "Monk" in 2002. (Yes, he had already broken out with "Silence of the Lambs", but "Monk" is arguably even bigger.)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really enjoyed this film. There are plenty of imperfect action/thrillers out there that fell much, much shorter than "Switchback." I've always enjoyed typically protagonist actors reverse roles, and I thought that Danny Glover did great. He wasn't Robin Williams in "Insomnia" (or "One Hour Photo" for that matter) but he was strong. I felt that delivering his performance in typical good guy fashion really added. Dennis Quaid wasn't phenomenal in the film, but he did fine. There was some real tension in most scenes, and though you knew what was going on, there was the occasional shadow of doubt. Sure the ending was the usual good triumphs over evil scenario, but so was "Terminator," "Die Hard," and for that matter "Braveheart." Sure the plot had some holes, but all-in-all I thought this was a solid movie.
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