“Maybe I’ll take you up on that sometime.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
The in-depth character analysis provided in Peary’s review of Tightrope hints at part of the reason for its inclusion in his book, which is that audiences and critics at the time (including Peary) were understandably intrigued by Eastwood’s cult of personality, and eager to see what he would come up with next. Unfortunately, viewed years after the fact, this particular entry in Eastwood’s estimable oeuvre comes up short. While it’s certainly “suspenseful” during key sequences (indeed, there are some genuinely freaky moments that had me glued to the screen), it’s ultimately too cliched and derivative to be entirely successful as a thriller. The trope of a cop seduced by the underbelly of the city he’s paid to serve and protect has been handled numerous times on-screen (most recently in Werner Herzog’s smarmy but effective Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans, taking place in the same city); and while the cat-and-mouse maneuvers between Eastwood and St. John are predictably chilling, they don’t really offer anything new to the genre.
Meanwhile, we don’t learn enough about Eastwood’s divorce to understand why he’s so bitter about women, or what role his own character flaws might have played in the breakup of his marriage. (His ex-wife literally appears as a cipher on-screen, and, if I recall correctly, may not even speak any lines.) If you do decide to check this one out, however, watch for Genevieve Bujold in a “strong and appealing” role as a “rape-crisis therapist who gets [Eastwood] to confront his hostility toward women”; she’s one of the film’s strongest elements.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: