Close Range (1986)
ballad "Live to Tell" hums continuously in the background of James
Foley's brooding, but overtold and somewhat detached 1986 drama At
Close Range. Foley has ambitions of a poetic film with massive
emotional impact akin to the best teenage struggle films of the 1950s.
As written by Elia Kazan's son Nicholas, the film draws inspiration from
films such as On the
Waterfront and Rebel Without a Cause. The James
Deans and Marlon Brandos have been replaced with Sean Penn, and the
updated stylistics are fashion-minded beyond productiveness, as the '80s
takes hold of both narrative structure and acting, making this a film
that hasn't aged well. Penn looks good in the lead, but Christopher
Walken's self-conscious gangster father makes little sense. The drama,
although potentially potent, suffers under Foley's lifeless images and a
constructed emotive exposition.