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1 review, 9 user ratings

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Tequila Sunrise
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by Jack Sommersby

"Drugs Dealers, Cops, Surfing, and Italian Cuisine!"
4 stars

Don't analyze the damn thing -- just luxuriate in its potent spell.

Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Towne's first directed-film since his perceptive character study Personal Best of 1982 is this romantic crime drama that pits two longtime friends (Mel Gibson's retired cocaine dealer, and Kurt Russell's narcotics lieutenant) against each other in vying for the affections of the luxurious restauranteuse (Michelle Pheiffer) who comes between them during a DEA investigation. When Towne concentrates on the dynamics of the relationships between these three, the film sizzles; but when he tries spritzing things up in the final third with action (which comes off as purely perfunctory and is unimpressively staged), it drizzles. Luckily, the first two-thirds are so good that we're willing to overlook the tepid follow-through as a mere inconvenience. What's hugely appealing about Tequila Sunrise is that it seems to be taking place in a hidden alcove from the rest of the world: even though there's a criminal investigation encompassing the characters, they're far more concerned with penetrating each other's protective emotional shields and playing mind games in Malibu beach houses and high-priced restaurants. There's a fascination in watching the three initially confident main characters falter when love figures into the equation; it's as if it were a foreign pathogen that found its way into their bloodstream, causing them to act elated yet frightened at the same time. The film is ultimately about loyalty, and Towne dexterously makes this implicit in the Gibson/Pheiffer, Gibson/Russell relationships without overstressing things. There's a giddy high to be had in seeing glamorous, gorgeous stars staring into each other's eyes and mouthing dialogue you know can only come from the movies ("Just lookin' at ya hurts more."), engaging in foolhardy actions that ring an oddly true bell (like Gibson calling to cancel a dinner reservation while being chased by the police), or just reveling in the colorful give-and-take verbal banter that a filmmaker who truly loves actors like Towne has afforded them. A small masterpiece of glitzy irreverence.

See it.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5967&reviewer=327
originally posted: 06/03/04 10:04:12
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User Comments

7/23/10 bagwell5 Great love triangle between the 3 leads. Good story. Little action but exciting. 4 stars
4/09/10 Jeff Wilder Unresolved plot threads. But characters are wonderfully three-dimensional. 4 stars
3/15/08 Pamela White boring for an action drama 2 stars
6/03/04 y2mckay Cast was good, but the movie itself was no great shakes. 3 stars
5/04/03 R.W. Welch Atmospheric but slow moving narc yarn. Good camera work. 3 stars
12/31/02 Jack Sommersby Mammothly entertaining! Until the last third, this is phenomenal stuff. 4 stars
6/17/02 Charles Tatum Like Michelle Pfeiffer- pretty but dull 2 stars
6/15/02 Eva Cave (heard a joke about a "drink" called "Tequila Mockingbird") I'd reverse that pun and call this TO KILL A SUNRISE. 2 stars
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  02-Dec-1988 (R)



Directed by
  Robert Towne

Written by
  Robert Towne

  Mel Gibson
  Michelle Pfeiffer
  Kurt Russell
  Raul Julia
  J.T. Walsh
  Arliss Howard

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