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)

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).

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...

Chilling, but worth watching .

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

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

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.

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

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

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.


The film begins slow and has no exceptional end.

The characters are boring and transparent.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

boring .

Gripping Thriller Crossed With Coming of Age Drama .

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.

But (expletive deleted), how dull things are!

He's stunning.

Like A Slow Moving Train .

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

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

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.

at stunning range .

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

The dialogue is basic, the plot is predictable.

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.

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.

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

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.

"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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Watching paint dry would be more entertaining.

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.

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.

There is some evocative photography too.

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

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

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.

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

This movie is completely uneventful.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Still, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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