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'Hustle' ** 062605
The Work = **
Ben Johnson who is probably best known for his work in Sam Peckinpah’s films like 'The Wild Bunch' and 'The Getaway' gives a solid performance as Marty Hollinger. Hollinger is the father of a woman who is found dead. The coroner says suicide and Lieutenant Phil Gaines (Reynolds) more or less wants that as the answer. Sure there may be strange circumstances but she looks to have committed suicide, so case closed.
His partner Louis does not share Gaines views and wants to dig deeper into the cause of the young woman’s death. Louis is played by the much underrated Paul Winfield. It’s tough to say where you might know Winfield from. For me, two roles leap to mind instantly. The first is as Captain Terrell in 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan' and the second is as Lieutenant Traxler in 'The Terminator'. Winfield is always good and has that uncanny ability to breath life into even the most basic of characters. Here, in 'Hustle', he provides a solid counter point and friend to Reynolds’ Gaines.
'Hustle' is not so much a bad movie as it is a slow one. I suspect had say William Friedkin, Peter Yates, Don Siegel or another director who handled gritty crime dramas well directed this film it might have faired better. At two hours, 'Hustle' feels over long and I bet would have played stronger at 90 minutes. When the end finally does come, it is a downer and one that I am not so sure fits with the rest of the movie.
Still, I bet fans of Reynolds will probably dig this film. As it is there is a lot I like in it and I feel a little sheepish since I just gave recommendations to the Sinatra flics’ 'Tony Rome' and 'Lady in Cement' but those films were, if nothing else, a bit less long in the tooth. 'Hustle' has good performances from Reynolds, Winfield, Johnson, and Catherine Deneuve. It has good scenes but as a movie just doesn’t come together.
DVD = ***
All together = **
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