Cutter's Way

Cutter's Way (Ivan Passer - 1981) can be reasonably called a cult movie, which is to say, most viewers don't care much for it, but those that do, care a lot. Where you fall depends on how you feel about the three lead characters, played by (above, left to right) Lisa Eichhorn, John Heard, and Jeff Bridges. Although the terms "burned out" and "cynical" can easily be applied to the trio as a unit, their personalities are distinct. They aren't likeable in any normal sense, and here is where the dividing line comes.

Some viewers contend there is no one to care about and find themselves bored with Cutter's somewhat perverse quest for justice. But if you feel for one of these three, you will probably feel for all of them, and you will not be bored.

The story itself is about murder and retribution. There's a lot you can read into it, if that's your inclination: shredded 60s idealism lashing out at highly-effective 80s greed - that's one interesting take I've seen. But it was the three bitter protagonists who kept this movie in my head years after I caught it on TV, their pain and their wit, the result of good writing (Jeffrey Alan Fiskin), acting, and directing.

This is one of my cornerstone pieces.