Friday, December 4, 2009

Niagara Strip

(Jim Makichuk, 1987)
Emmeritus goes to the Falls - and sets a heroin-smuggling procedural in a tiny town where everyone knows everyone else except the 'punks' (who look like A Flock of Seagulls pretending to be W.A.S.P.). The federal cop, the local cop, and the shady businessman are all old football buddies, and the offed drugrunner's widow went to the same school. And while as usual this movie is visually tacky and dramatically overdrawn, it actually does manage to capture a mood - wistful, melancholic, unfulfilled. Essential to this is Paul De La Rosa as the smalltown cop with Hollywood cops on his walls - emotionally stunted and agonizingly immature, his character spells the themes with uncommon precision, so lost that he's tragic. There's also something about April Johnson's pretty, uncomplicated widow that makes you get what these guys see in her. And in it's zero-budget tawdriness it captures its time and place, with a nice eye for detail.

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