‘In The Line Of Fire‘ is an action thriller directed by Wolfgang Petersen and written by Jeff Maguire. It was released in 1993 and was co-produced by Columbia Pictures and Castle Rock Entertainment.
Secret Service agents Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) is the last surviving member of Ronald Reagan’s security team who has had a crisis of confidence during the assassination attempt on President Reagan. He now works with rookie agent Al D’Andrea (Dylan McDermott) in the counterfeiting section. He gets a complaint about a DC tenant named Joseph McCrawley (John Malkovich) who was overheard by his landlady discussing praise for past presidential assassins. He soon discovers that McCrawley is planning an attempt on the current president’s life. He takes it to his boss Director Sam Campagna (John Mahoney), but fellow agents Lilly Raines (Rene Russo) and Bill Watts (Gary Cole) as well as POTUS Chief of Staff Harry Sargent (Fred Dalton Thompson) doubt the danger. Soon, McCrawley begins to call and taunt Horrigan, causing some mistakes and close calls that cause Frank’s crisis to grow.
This is one of the finest thrillers to come out of the nineties. There are real tensions and stakes as McCrawley is chased from one coast to another while taunting Frank. Both Eastwood and Malkovich are putting out their best performances, making you feel their competition of driving forces.
Likewise, the rest of the cast does a good job. Russo is an incredible talent and this movie definitely shows it off. Same with McDermott, who plays against type as a tough guy and instead goes into a troubled rookie who doubts that he can pull off as a Secret Service. Thompson as the pushy Chief of Staff was a treat.
Now, the story is hampered by one flaw, albeit not a fatal one. They give away McCrawley too soon. We see everything about him, as far as motivations and skills, too early. This makes you feel a bit frustrated on why Frank and the Secret Service can catch him or even more so, why the administration seems uneager to catch him. They should have kept McCrawley under wraps for a bit longer and made us feel the tension of a mysterious force that throws Frank off guard. This would have been another way to showcase Malkovich’s range.
That being said, Petersen certainly knows how to craft a cat-and-mouse feature about an agent over the hill who has to stop one of the deadliest foes. I felt connected to Frank as he pushes some of his colleagues away with his attitude and his stubbornness.
Bottom line, In The Line Of Fire is a good thriller with some powerful characters and an intriguing plot that will pull you in. Eastwood and Malkovich are excellent in this deadly game of rivals.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Strong violence, Brief sexual content
FAVORITE QUOTE: Think. The same government that trained me to kill trained you to protect. Yet now you want to kill me while up on that roof I protected you. They’re gonna write books about us…
Check out the trailer below:
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