Robert Towne is one of Hollywood's most celebrated screenwriters, but because his directorial efforts have been few and far between, anticipation was high when this star-powered crime story was released in 1988. Critical reaction was decidedly mixed, but there's plenty to admire in this silky, visually seductive film about a drug dealer (Mel Gibson) whose best friend from high-school (Kurt Russell) is now working for the Los Angeles sheriff's drug detail. Their personal and professional conflicts are intensified by their love for the same woman, a waitress (Michelle Pfeiffer) at the Italian restaurant they both frequent. There's a big deal going down with a drug lord (the late Raul Julia), but as it twists and turns, Towne's story is really more about personal loyalties and individual honor. And even if it doesn't quite hold together, the movie's got a fantastic look to it (courtesy of the great cinematographer Conrad Hall), and the three stars bring depth and dimension to their well-written roles. --Jeff Shannon
Nobody wants me to quit. You know, don't quit. Don't get caught. Stay on top long enough for us to knock you off. I mean, that's the motto around here. Nobody wants me to quit. The cops want to bust me. The Colombians want my connections. My wife, she wants my money. Her lawyer agrees and mine likes getting paid to argue with him. Nobody wants me to quit. I haven't even mentioned my customers here. You know they don't want me to quit.
That is completely paranoid.
Hey, I'm just talking here. I'm not trying to convince you of a goddamn thing. And I may be paranoid, but then again nobody wants me to quit.
You don't lose sight of the facts. Not unless you're nuts. You just... You lose sight of your feelings. Mac knows how he feels: he's crazy about you and he doesn't want to get caught. For a crook it's crystal clear. On the other hand for a cop it's confusing. Mac's my friend and I like him. Maguire's my associate and I hate him. I probably have to bust my friend if I'm going to do my job. But I *hate* drug dealers and somebody's got to get rid of Carlos. How do I do that?