Movie #110 2021: In the Line of Fire (1993)

I’m not gonna lie to you here: I completely forgot I’d even watched In the Line of Fire. Safe to say, it’s not exactly the most memorable movie despite there being some really great things about it (according to what my notes say, of course.)

The movie stars Hollywood heavyweights Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich as a retired Secret Service agent and a potential future presidential assassin respectively. Eastwood’s Frank Horrigan has never really recovered since JFK was assassinated in plain sight in 1963, and he’s always harboured guilt due to the fact that he feels the former commander-in-chief was murdered because of his negligence. Thirty years on, a man named Booth (Malkovich) comes to the fore, claiming to be planning the assassination of the current president, forcing Horrigan to return to duty in order to prevent the same thing happening again.

To quickly describe In the Line of Fire, it’s a super corny, old school, good guy versus bad guy melodrama. Take the steely looks and reaction shots with a pinch of salt and you get a pretty entertaining movie all in all… even if (like me) you may not remember it afterwards!

What I will say is that the cast in this movie is faaaaaabulous. Malkovich is the perfect mysteriously creepy suspect, Eastwood helms the movie with pizzazz and gusto even at his age, and Rene Russo is utterly brilliant as the sole smirking female agent who calls the men out on their sexist bullshit. It could have done with more women as always, but she’s wonderful here even if she is forced to flirt with a man 23 years her senior. And Gary Cole is so young! Gary Cole is always welcome in this house, so what a lovely surprise that was.

In the Line of Fire isn’t always packed full of explosions and fireworks, but it throws you right in the middle of the action and is fairly well-paced despite its length. I suspect it’s not Eastwood’s best movie, but it is a tense, straight-up thriller. Presidential assassinations are never not fascinating, am I right?

The movie overall would have been much improved without the romantic subplot (What’s the point? Other than to squeeze a token female character in there, of course), but I had no idea this was the film that spawned that iconic “if she turns around” scene?! At least that part makes up for the pointless romance. See below if you have no idea what I’m talking about:

Yes, the ridiculous and panicky piano music is cheesy as hell, it oversimplifies PTSD, and it’s all pretty forgettable (as you may have realised) when it comes down to it. However, it’s a really entertaining 2 hours with some stellar performances at its core.

There are worse ways to spend your morning, that’s for sure.

In the Line of Fire is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Rating: ½

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