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More Should Have Done It 'Cutter's' Way

July 26, 1990|DOUG LIST

Among the high-tech, big-budget and inevitably upbeat films of the 1980s, a few introspective character studies managed to slip through. One of the best is "Cutter's Way."

The film follows the desperate attempts of three characters trying to find some meaning to their lives amid, ironically, the sunny beauty of Santa Barbara.

At the center of the film stands Cutter, a one-eyed, one-armed, one-legged, distempered, alcoholic veteran, played at full volume by John Heard. When his best buddy, a gigolo named Bone (played by Jeff Bridges) catches a glimpse of a body being dumped in an alley, Cutter decides they are going to solve the murder--especially when Bone is tabbed as a suspect.

Cutter, Bone and the woman between them (played by Lisa Eichhorn) are far from the "TV-happy" people that populate most movies. You will recognized these emotional, witty, sad characters as people you've known (or been).

"Cutter's Way" is a welcomed island of reality in Hollywood's sea of glamorous fantasy.

"Cutter's Way" (1981), director by Ivan Passer. 109 minutes. Rated R.


"Orphans" (1987), directed by Alan J. Pakula. 120 minutes. Rated R. Albert Finney as a blustery Chicago gangster who is abducted by a crazed third-rate thief and held in the dilapidated house the thief shares with his younger, backward brother. With his Midwestern gangster slang and alcohol-tainted good manners, Finney parodies both American films and American values, uproariously.

"The Killing" (1956), directed by Stanley Kubrick. 83 minutes. No rating. A band of very serious thugs plans the biggest score of their careers. An urgent, no-nonsense, unrelenting film by the man who went on to direct "Dr. Strangelove," "2001" and "A Clockwork Orange."

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