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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

In the Line of Fire (1993)



Reviews and Comments

Clint Eastwood plays an aging secret service agent in this exciting suspense film. Ingeniously -- and before Forrest Gump wowed audiences with it the following year -- old footage of Eastwood is edited into stock footage of John F. Kennedy and various later Presidential rallies. It's not done as a gratuitous effect; rather, it establishes Eastwood's character's important backstory, his failure to save Kennedy from assassination.

This is an unusual thriller in that, while it delivers all the requisite chases and suspense, the most memorable scenes are the quiet character moments. I remember how tense and exciting it was, but the dominant images in my head are of Eastwood's romance with Rene Russo, a romance that actually feels genuine and grown-up and not just a stockpile of familiar cliches. I also remember John Malkovich's creepily menacing psychopath. Malkovich was an unknown to me when I saw this in 1993, but this movie made me pay attention.