July 31, 2006

Cisco Pike


Reviewer: Tamara Lees
Rating (out of 5): ***½

Like Night Moves and Cutter's Way, Cisco Pike is a low-key Seventies character study once derided as a failure but now in crying need of a new audience. It also boasts a superb film debut from Kris Kristofferson (who'd been glimpsed in the previous year's The Last Movie, if you want to pick nits), at the time better known as a musician. Here he plays the titular character, also a musician and former idol who has hit the skids. He ends up dealing drugs to make money, and is blackmailed by a crooked cop (played by Gene Hackman - in perfect form, both natural and poignant) to unload pounds of weed in less than three days or he's screwed. Harry Dean Stanton plays a long lost pal and bandmate of Pike's who is now, unfortunately, a total junkie; Stanton is mesmerizingly good here, although he wouldn't be fully appreciated until years later.

Kristofferson also contributes several terrific songs to the soundtrack, while director Bill Norton (also making his debut) does a nice job creating an appropriately boozy atmosphere. Like those other films mentioned above, Cisco Pike captures the aimlessness and disillusionment after the promise the spirt of the 60s once held for many. But while some aspects of the film may appear ready for a time capsule, it still holds up surprisingly well - and cynicism never goes out of style.

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Posted by cphillips at July 31, 2006 2:13 PM | TrackBack