At Close Range (1986) - Crime, Drama

Hohum Score



In 1978 Pennsylvania, an absentee father is reacquainted with his estranged teenage sons who become intrigued with his romanticized life of crime.

Director: James Foley
Stars: Sean Penn, Christopher Walken
Length: 111 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 16 out of 98 found boring (16.32%)

One-line Reviews (67)

Still, I enjoyed it quite a bit.


Chilling, but worth watching .

'At Close Range'is a riveting and depressing film based on a true story.

It's a diobolically suspenseful cautionary tale about sins of the father, burying the past, and the violent, tragic things that can happen when you don't leave it buried.

Penn (intense and full of wrought emotion), Walken (utterly dominant as he shifts unerringly between the charm and nasty gears) and Masterson (naively endearing and makes us care for her Terry character).

The acting is very convincing, and the screenplay is very good, with a suspenseful, yet somewhat unexpected, ending.

Films this prolific, provocative and tragically entertaining shouldn't get overlooked, especially deadly, downbeat, serious minded scorcher of a thriller like this.

As a result, the 'Midwest' could almost be an epithet of sorts, a setting of a series of similar films that detail the redneck rurality that propels people into nihilistic turpitude and banal evil.

The haunting (if also fairly repetitive) music score is courtesy of Patrick Leonard, who also wrote the classic theme song "Live to Tell" with Madonna.

From Foley's stunning direction to some of the best work by EVERY cast member involved.

He has somewhat of a level of comfort with life on the edge because he has gotten away with whatever he wanted before over and over again.

And nowhere can the toll a role can take on an actor be felt more keenly, than in AT CLOSE RANGE, with his portrayal of ne'er-do-well, small town knockabout Brad Whitewood, Jr.The chilling poignancy of the film and the events it portrays are even more stunning (and depressing) when it is revealed that everything is based on true events.

In fact it is his showing alone that keeps "At Close Range " from becoming a complete and utter waste of time.

I find it hard to believe anyone would enjoy this film, was amazed at the positive reviews, found this film unbearable.

Watching paint dry would be more entertaining.

The dialogue is basic, the plot is predictable.

Walken is a demon daddy in the role, turning a character that could have fallen into clichéd melodrama into a nuanced, intriguing fiend.

James Foley's movie is consistently downbeat, even when a snippet of hope rears its head, you sense that it is a waste of time latching onto it.

Like A Slow Moving Train .

represents a world of fascinating danger and adventure that has his boys enthralled.

But (expletive deleted), how dull things are!

Walken ,when he's at his best,gives the jitters ,and he is able to transcend the weakest script and the most banal directing:such is the case here ,and without a first-class acting like his (and his co-star's),"at close range" would have been average made-for-TV quality.

A very over-rated film, dull and tedious, with flat performances, and uninspired writing.

It is extremely depressing, very slow, and very annoying at times.

This movie is completely uneventful.

The slowest moving movie I've ever watched, painfully slow.

An entertaining and extremely well-acted movie (both Sean Penn and Christopher Walken are in top form and have excellent screen chemistry) that abandons logic about 2/3 of the way through the movie and starts going for pure shock value.

The groundwork for a great family tragedy is here, but director James Foley's direction is too languid.

There is a lot of confusion about the movie being filmed in Penn.

I highly recommend this film for being an intricately layered, absorbing study on moral abandon and small-town idle that eventually spills into violence.

Although based on actual events, this story of a disenchanted Pennsylvania teenager adopted into a family of thieves certainly doesn't look like the usual cautionary docudrama, employing an up-to-the-minute visual vocabulary to present a perhaps too stylish look at the boredom, restlessness and violence of lower middle class America.

This charismatic snake is portrayed wonderfully by the always excellent Walken, here putting in one of his most compelling displays of villainy.

There are a few too many pretentious slo-mo shots and not quite as much energy as there could be.

But I think what is truly at the heart of this film is a son's coming of age - a desperate need for a father, which is what makes the final act so heartbreaking.

All in all, pretty tedious and not to be repeated.

boring .

Mostly they're just a bunch of punks who don't want to find real work, so Whitewood's gang seems like an easy, exciting way of making money.

Foley's talent makes even a B exploitation thriller like Fear into something far more entertaining that it has any right to be.

Though well acted by the leads, with intense direction by James Foley, any emotional involvement is utterly muted, since the viewer is kept at arms length throughout, and it is difficult to care about any of them; you'll just want to see them arrested...

As if the slow uneventful script and bad acting wasn't enough, they top it all off with a cheesy 80's synthesizer soundtrack.

Boring "true story" which gives an account of a rebellious teenager's attempts to form a relationship with his estranged criminal father.

Gripping Thriller Crossed With Coming of Age Drama .

His performance is subdued in the first half,then his final scenes are intense,recalling sometimes the best "actor studio method" scenes from the fifties/sixties.

It turns out the words of the hit record have little to do with the plot, which is a rather dull account of a family of criminals in America who go around stealing tractors.

It looked good by some of the reviews, but when I viewed it - very dated, extremely slow in parts and not much of a story.

at stunning range .

The plot is usual, the story is a bit predictable, but what you see here is something different; the cast is good, the director presented many stunning viewpoint and symbolism in this movie.

Young Brad is adrift, smoking pot, drinking beer, and sitting around his house with his even duller brother Tommy (Chris Penn).

This movie has a really strong and engaging story working for it, as well as the strong acting.

But after being bored to death, I switched the channel and just looked up the movie online to see how it eventually ended.

What is both enjoyable and chilling for me is how accurate many aspects are to actual events and places.

He's stunning.

There is some evocative photography too.

Sadly it is weighed down by its own self-importance and is delivered with a terribly slow pace that the material cannot totally support.

The characters are boring and transparent.

This is a must see movie - it could be a warning for those with bored teens.

I have many many stories i could relay to you about these events but I dont wann bore you all.

"At Close Range" is a work of exceptional quality which makes a profound impression on its audience by presenting its riveting story in a very realistic way and also by featuring tremendously strong performances from Sean Penn and Christopher Walken.

The cherry on top of this steaming pile of boredom is Madonna's "Live to Tell".

But the languid style, especially the bodies falling into the lake, lulls you into a false sense of security that is brutally halted by the sudden blasts of the gun that attempt to despatch Penn and the scene is doubly shocking for that.

Other than that, we found the film to be a gripping,engrossing crime story.

Christopher Walken remains considerably than just an intriguing character actor who consistently steals scenes in supporting roles.

The direction of this engrossing crime thriller has been slagged off for being overdone or stylelised beyond the film's capacity to hold the weight.

Even the usually fascinating Christopher Walken is a big let down.

The film begins slow and has no exceptional end.

A lot of very slowly waste of time and film - time and film that could have been used to put more depth into the characters and make what little action there was interesting.