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USA 1982
Directed by
Taylor Hackford
128 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars

Against All Odds

Against All Odds is a remake of the classic 1947 film noir Out Of The Past although you’d never know it as it looks much like any low-to-mid budget film of the period. It is a would-be racy (literally so as we get an entirely gratuitous car race scene early in proceedings) plot involving a past-his-use-by date football player, Terry Brogan (Jeff Bridges) accepting a job from a dodgy bookie friend (James Woods) to head down to Mexico to find his runaway girlfriend (Rachel Ward). She comes from a wealthy family, her mother (Jane Greer who starred in the original film) being involved with her lawyer (Richard Widmark) in an environmentally contentious real estate development. Brogan finds himself caught in all manner of deceit and betrayal. Sounds good? Well, it's not.

Roman Polanski showed us with Chinatown that that it was possible to make a neo-noir about corruption in high places in colour and in Californian daylight but Hackford doesn’t come remotely close to creating a comparable atmosphere as the plot spirals into meaninglessness, the hit rate of awkward support performances adds up and Phil Collins’ synthesized score goes all impressionistically arty (it spawned the awful hit song “Take A Look At Me Know” which features over the end credits). Not to mention that whilst Ward (by then Mrs Bryan Brown) is pretty enough, she is no femme fatale, or at least Hackford can't make one of her. Bridges and Woods are, as ever, good in their roles but only the 1980s could give us something so mechanically formulaic and expect it to be taken seriously.




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