Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Friday, February 26 - Saturday, February 27, 2010
High-definition digital projection. In memory of Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)
“The hero, who has the thankless name Johnny Utah, is played by Keanu Reeves as a former Rose Bowl star with a bum knee, who joined the FBI and has been assigned to Los Angeles. A series of bank robberies is frustrating the bureau. Four robbers who call themselves the Ex-Presidents, and wear rubber masks of Nixon, Carter, Reagan and LBJ, have pulled off a string of bank jobs and left not a single clue behind.
“Except one. Johnny Utah is given a partner named Pappas (Gary Busey), who thinks the robbers may be surfers, because one has a tan line, and a strand of hair found at the crime was polluted with the same contaminants found at a popular surfing beach. So he convinces Utah to go undercover as a surfer and try to break the case.
“This is some California movie, all right… The movie was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, a stylist who specializes in professionals who do violence. She made BLUE STEEL, with Jamie Lee Curtis as a rookie cop, and now here is Keanu Reeves in essentially the same role — a kid determined to prove himself, up against the twisted intelligence of a megalomaniac.
“Bodhi, played by Patrick Swayze, is part mystic, part criminal, and over-all surfer. From clues developed by Pappas, it appears that he and his gang rob banks to support their surfing, and then move on when the seasons change. Johnny Utah does become friendly with them, and even falls in love with Bodhi’s ex-girlfriend (Lori Petty), while trying to fit together the case. And then the plot grows truly ingenious, all the way down to its Zen ending on a lonely, storm-swept beach in Australia.
“Bigelow and her crew are also gifted filmmakers. There’s a footchase through the streets, yards, alleys and living rooms of Santa Monica; two skydiving sequences with virtuoso photography, powerful chemistry between the good and evil characters, and an ominous, brooding score by Mark Isham that underlines the mood.” – Roger EbertR, 120 Minutes