“I got stomach trouble — no guts.”
After getting out of jail, burglar Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman) attempts to go straight, but is mercilessly harrassed by his parole officer (M. Emmet Walsh) and soon finds himself in a life of crime once more. He and two old buddies (Gary Busey and Harry Dean Stanton) plan a major jewelry heist, while Dembo’s new girlfriend (Theresa Russell) worries for his safety.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Dustin Hoffman Films
- Gary Busey Films
- Harry Dean Stanton Films
- Theresa Russell Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, “Dustin Hoffman has one of his best screen roles as two-time loser Max Dembo”; in fact, Hoffman is so good it’s easy to forget he’s acting. While there are many exciting moments in the film, my favorite scenes are those between Dembo and his new girlfriend, played by a sexy young Theresa Russell (though I couldn’t quite figure out why she would want to stay with him). While Walsh’s “venal” harassment of Dembo is infuriating, what’s even more frustrating (though perhaps inevitable) is that Dembo allows his anger to lead him back into a life of crime. Indeed, Dembo’s pig-headedness prevents one from empathizing with him during the latter part of the film — though, as Peary points out, “at least we can relate to [Dembo’s] need to fit in somewhere.”
- Dustin Hoffman as Max Dembo
- Theresa Russell as Dembo’s loyal girlfriend
- Gary Busey and Harry Dean Stanton as Dembo’s buddies and partners-in-crime
- Kathy Bates in a small supporting role as Busey’s concerned wife
- An extremely exciting, well-directed jewelry heist in Beverly Hills
Yes. This film is must-see viewing for Hoffman’s performance alone.
- Noteworthy Performance(s)