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04-26-2006, 02:52 AM
When was the last time you actually saw a decent thriller/drama? I'm talking about a really suspenseful movie that just hit all the right marks? There seems to be a lack of great product going to the big screen and I am reminded of that each time I revisit older movies that just excel in all aspects. One particular film that always amazes me is 1990's NARROW MARGIN directed by Peter Hyams and starring Gene Hackman and Anne Archer. For those of you that have not seen this film....track it down and enjoy it as soon as you can...you won't be disappointed. For those of you that may have seen it at some point, you may want to revisit the film again. It's one of those lost gems that requires some revisitation time and time again. Looking back on the film today you can see how this particular film had all the right moves. The acting is brilliant, the plot is tight, the suspense is all around, and the film moves with great pace and has some awesome moments of humor. This is easily one of Hackmans best roles EVER! One key element that the film nails is the tension that is built through sitatuion (think Hitchcock) and in fact the majority of the film all takes place on a train (think Hitchcock's THE LADY VANISHES). So again I ask when was the last great thriller/suspense film made? I can't even think of a recent film that comes close. 1990/1991 would also produce THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, which has easily become a modern classic. 1995's SE7EN might also be in that realm of modern classic and has also appreciated over time.

One huge problem that I see with these modern films trying to be suspenseful is that they mistake gimmicky horror stunts for suspense. They think that the only way to scare people is to use cliched music cues with poor editing and flashy camera tricks. Real suspense takes effective writing with excellent directing and execution of all production. Even if the film does involve some of these trademarks chances are that the plot or other elements are either predictable or rehashings of earlier works. Sure, NARROW MARGIN is technically a remake, but they are hardly the same film. Only some minor elements remain the same, but both films have their own identity. Can anyone else think of some other great films of the last past 10 years that hit all the marks of a great suspense movie????