If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Does Eastwood have what it takes to take a bullet?
Secret Service Agent Frank Horrigan is a fairly successful agent working for the president, yet the guilt of not being able to save President Kennedy back in the 60's still haunts him. When a lunatic assassin named Booth aka Mitch Leary begins to haunt and torment Frank with phone calls about his failure to save Kennedy and the threats to assassinate the president, Frank must take action and protect the presidents at all costs-even if it causes him humiliation. Does Frank have what it takes to take a bullet?
I admit I have a biased opinion on this film. First of all I am an Eastwood fanatic...I love the man...he's amazing. I am also a Kennedy fanatic so the content of the film made it even more interesting to me because they did an incredible job of using The Kennedy Assassination as a back story to this one. Still the film is really well done and technically speaking done on a relatively low budget considering some of the shots they create. But if you watch the special features on the film you'll see that they used a lot of computer graphics to simulate casts of thousands, and used old Bill Clinton speech crowds for their President speech crowds. It's flawlessly done and you'd never know it unless you were really looking. The film is not about the backdrop, it's a character study from two very different perspectives. You have an aging Secret Service agent, divorced, left alone, alcoholic, constantly haunted by the fact that he was too slow to save President Kennedy in 1963. He doesn't whip himself into shape...he's old...and he looks old and acts tired and that is exactly what he is. Then you have the flip side of the coin where you have an angry, driven, assassin trained by the United States who wants nothing more than to give his life to end the President's life. It's cat and mouse, and it's psychological and just really interesting to watch.
Clint Eastwood is a god. I mean the man never changes his performances much...his performance in In The Line of Fire as secret service agent Frank Horrigan is a more tired and broody version of Dirty Harry but somehow he does something with his characters. You see something in his eyes where he just draws you into his character and makes you believe it and become a part of it and that's exactly what he does here. He has unparalleled screen presence! John Malkovich, who I am rarely a fan of, is incredible as the creepy and disturbed killer Mitch Leary. He is a master of disguise and that is no figure of speech because he has to change his appearance so drastically and so many times and does it realistically and amazingly!! On top of that so much of his performance is done over the phone or just his voice and he creates this incredible character that you almost feel compassion for at times. Best of all his character and Eastwood's character have incredible chemistry and are the perfect adversaries. A statement commonly made but I could have done without Rene Russo. Her character didn't have a lot of depth or reason other than as a rather ridiculous love interest for Eastwood's Horrigan and the two of them didn't really go very well together anyways. Russo had this habit in the nineties of showing up with every leading man you could possibly think of. This is one performance that was unnecessary.
Director Wolfgang Petersen definitely has a talent for combining action with a really good story that draws you in. I think he is probably one of the more intelligent action directors given films like Air Force One, this one, and Troy...I was NOT a fan of his Poseidon remake but every great artist stumbles sometime. In the Line of Fire is just simply a great cat and mouse mystery, thriller with a little bit of action and other than the love interest they don't try to force Eastwood to be younger than he is because his character calls for a world weary character and that is what he is. Some definite edge of your seat moments mixed with a really good story and if you haven't seen it you'll wanna check it out because it is definitely worthwhile!!