In 1960s New York, Walter Stackhouse is a successful architect married to the beautiful Clara who leads a seemingly perfect life. But his fascination with an unsolved murder leads him into a spiral of chaos as he is forced to play cat-and-mouse with a clever killer and an overambitious detective, while at the same time lusting after another woman.
The illegal arms trade between the USA and Mexico is the basis for the story in this crime-thriller. It involves world weary policemen, a shady local businessman, a professional killer and the dusty environs of a small town in the American South. It put me in mind of the recent Cold in July (2014) in its tone, feel and setting. Both films share quite well drawn characters and sudden scenes of strong violence. This one benefits quite a bit from a very fine cast, where we have Patrick Wilson and Ian McShane as a couple of police officers, both of whom have their own internal demons. McShane in particular seems to be having a lot of fun here and gives a very lively performance that is very good value. We also have John Leguizamo and James Belushi as the bad guys of the piece; the former doesn't perhaps get to do much more than exert an ominous physical presence (although he does it well), while Belushi is given his most interesting role in years in which he makes the most of.
The story-line is fairly complex at times, with a variety of characters interconnecting with each other in different ways. But I don't think the story is really the main selling point in this one. It does have some thrilling visceral moments for sure but this one ultimately is best enjoyed as a character-driven genre effort. A very solid and well-executed genre piece on the whole.
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