“In The Line Of Fire – The Second Chance” is – despite a few small genre clichés – an outstanding thriller that captivates from beginning to end. According to our 4.5-star official DashFUN review, the highlight of the whole thing is a psycho duel. This unfolds between a Secret Service agent played by Clint Eastwood as a classic anti-hero and an assassin with thoroughly human traits.
The German director/producer Wolfgang Petersen (“Das Boot”) initially had Robert De Niro in mind in the role of the charismatic villain. The ‘GoodFellas’ and ‘Casino’ star was also interested, but ultimately had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts with work on his own directorial debut, The Streets of the Bronx. Jack Nicholson and Robert Duvall were then approached, but both fit for similar reasons, before John Malkovich (“Con Air”) finally got the nod. Malkovich did a fantastic job. His expressive playing forms the perfect counterpart to Eastwood’s straightforward, dry performance.
“In The Line Of Fire” will air today, October 12, 2022 at 11 p.m. on Kabel 1. A few hours later there is another repeat. But it’s really only for real night owls or hardcore early risers, as it starts on October 13 at 3:45 a.m.
If both dates don’t suit you, you can stream the FSK 16 title for a few euros rental fee – e.g. on Amazon Prime Video. Or you can order it as a Blu-ray, DVD or, ideally, as an UltraHD 4K Blu-ray:
» “In The Line Of Fire” on Amazon*
“In the Line of Fire” received three Oscar nominations: excellent editing for John Malkovich for Best Supporting Actor, for the screenplay by Jeff Maguire (“Flight or Victory”) and Anne V. Coates’ (“Lawrence of Arabia”). Why Eastwood, Petersen’s production and especially Ennio Morricone’s brilliant score did not also appear on this list remains a mystery. The honor for the performance of all three veterans would have been well deserved.
The film tightens the tension screw almost continuously. The whole thing also lives from the fact that Eastwood’s character not only has to deal with a more than formidable opponent, but also feels some headwind from his own ranks. In addition, the action scenes are grippingly staged – including a sequence in which the main actor, who was over 60 at the time, actually dangled from the roof of a six-story building, held only by a safety belt.
The flirty banter between Eastwood’s character and the extremely capable and confident young agent played by Renee Russo (“Outbreak”) makes for some of the few lighter moments. On paper, this might seem a bit constructed, especially because of the enormous age difference. Thanks to the relaxed, natural play of the two stars, it is still touchingly believable and provides a welcome break from all the tension.
Frank Horrigan (Clinton Eastwood) is one of the most experienced agents in the ranks of the US Secret Service, having been one of John F. Kennedy’s bodyguards. The assassination of “his” president and the guilt surrounding it still haunts the veteran 30 years later while he protects his current successor (Jim Curley).
Then Horrigan suddenly receives a strange call: A man he does not know (John Malkovich), who calls himself Booth, announces that he wants to kill the head of state. Horrigan takes this threat very seriously and will do whatever it takes to find and stop the guy. However, his security precautions are made considerably more difficult by the president’s busy schedule, which is currently on the campaign trail.
Vanities regarding the powers and responsibilities of his superiors (Gary Cole, John Mahoney), a still badly green partner (Dylan McDermott) and stress with the president’s most important confidante (Fred Dalton Thompson) make Horrigan’s job more difficult and seem to be falling into his opponent’s hands to play. He is not only highly intelligent and mentally completely unpredictable, but also a master of disguise and can appear at any time, anywhere and put his plan into action …
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