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Laramie Movie Scope: Breakdown

A brightly-lit suspense movie with plenty of action

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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May 4, 1997 -- "Breakdown" seems like a dumb idea for a movie, but it turns out to be a lot better than the trailer would indicate.

A couple is moving cross-country and they break down in the middle of the dessert. A friendly truck driver passes by and offers to give them a lift to the nearest phone so they can call a tow truck.

The guy Jeff Taylor (Kurt Russell) decides to stay with the car, while his wife, Amy (Kathleen Quinlan) goes with the truck driver to call the tow truck. The tow truck doesn't come and when Taylor gets his vehicle running again, there's no sign of his wife anywhere.

Frantically searching for his wife, he spots the truck, but the truck driver denies ever having seen him or his wife before. As Taylor probes the mystery he is pulled deep into danger as he unravels a murderous conspiracy.

Although the initial setup is a little shaky, once this drama gets rolling it is really gripping. The plot keeps twisting in new directions just when you think you know where it is heading. The climactic Road Warrior-like action sequence is nutty, but entertaining just the same.

The thing I like most about this movie is that it mostly takes place in the daylight. It makes good use of location shots in the southwest. So many movies these days are shot indoors and in dark places. It is nice to see those bright outdoor images.

Kurt Russell does a fine job as the desperate hero of the film, practically carrying this film on his back, while J.T. Walsh and Jack Noseworthy head up very effective cast of villains. Writers Jonathan Mostow (who also directed the film) and Sam Montgomery have put together a very solid screenplay, cinemaphotographer Douglas Milsome, captures both the action and desolate landscape perfectly and director Mostow really makes the story flow smoothly. It's a little silly and you do have to suspend your disbelief, but it's a thrilling ride. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1997 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)