Debra Winger's career has pretty much bottomed-out, but take a look back to this splendid 1984 film and you'll be reminded of her raw, galvanizing talent.James Bridges' Mike's Murder works as both a touching character study and a nerve-jangling thriller with such assuredness that you feel like giving it a big round of applause afterward. It's that good. Bridges, who wrote the screenplay and directed, has taken what would seem to be a run-of-the-mill story -- a lonely bank teller delving into the mystery behind her occasional lover's drug dealing-related death -- and developed it with tactful intelligence. Rarely has the Los Angeles drug underworld been depicted with such harrowing conviction: the constant paranoia amid the blinding L.A. sunlight suggests an impending doom that's lucidly clear and inevitable -- it's the unseen threat coupled with the knowledge that a supplier you're dumb enough to rip off will eventually get ahold of you that's as menacing as any chainsaw-wielding henchman a la Scarface. The film is ultimately about the consequences of self-delusion: the teller's in her hope for a substantial life with a handsome, irresponsible loser; and the dealer's in his submergence in illegality with little regard for the consequences. Maturely written, exceptionally textured, and marvelously acted (especially by star Debra Winger), Mike's Murder is a small masterpiece worthy of rediscovery.Due to video stores constantly liquidating their older titles, this is a pretty tough title to come across, but it'll be worth the effort to find.