Written and directed by Richard Tuggle, ‘Tightrope, is produced by Clint Eastwood, who also stars in it. It was made by the Malpaso Company and released in 1984 by Warner Brothers.
New Orleans police detective Wes Block (Clint Eastwood) is a single-father of two dog-loving girls who is assigned to solve the death of a local young woman (Jamie Rose). Block discovers that she a Bourbon Street prostitute and heads into the French Quarter where he finds himself tempted by the allure of that lifestyle. After the death of another victim, he is confronted by Beryl Thibodeaux (Geneviève Bujold), the director of a rape prevention program, who is convinced that it is a serial killer. Despite his hesitation, he agrees to work with her if she keeps the mayor off his back. As Block continues to investigate prostitutes, he finds himself more and more pulled in. Little does he know that the murderer is watching him and plans to use him to further his plan of revenge.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this movie is its setting in New Orleans. That gave it a high quality vibe and it did a good job of capturing the Cajun culture along with the seedy parts of the city. I felt like the script did a good of showing just how loud and crowded it is, making it unique. I applaud cinematographer Bruce Surtees for translating this onto the screen.
The movie does wander between being a slasher gore flick and a murder mystery thriller. I do feel like it did not quite figure out which one it was, but that did not deter me from the story. Clint Eastwood and Geneviève Bujold had very good chemistry. Bujold plays a woman who wants to help the victims and you sense the genuine nature of her strong character who just wants to protect women like her. As for Eastwood, You feel Block’s frustration at his inability to catch the killer while somewhat enjoying the seedy lifestyle of the French Quarter. His acting is spot on.
That is something else I liked about the film. Normally, detectives in these thrillers are shown to be distant dads who put the job before his family. In this flick, Block is shown to be a good father who cares a great deal for his daughters and they love him in return. This change of pace made the film more enduring, especially in the tense moments.
This is one of two films directed by Richard Tuggle. It is a shame he has not done more. Sure, the movie has a few pacing problems and some minor issues, but I think he did a good job as director. He and Eastwood worked well together as far as making the final product. It would have been worth exploring where his career would have gone.
Bottom line, Tightrope is an intriguing thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. You are hook as Eastwood chases a killer who is far closer than our protagonist could imagine.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Sexual content including nudity, Violence, Drug content
FAVORITE QUOTE: There’s a darkness inside all of us, Wes. You, me, and the man down the street. Some have it under control. Others act it out. The rest of us try to walk a tightrope between the two.
Check out the trailer below:
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