Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rolling Thunder (1977)

A nice little revenge flick from the 1970s with William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones as POWs returning home from Vietnam. Devane comes back to a distant wife, and a son who is a stranger to him, and then has to deal with a vicious home invasion. Through it all he remains placid and steely and you know that by the end of the film he is going to wreak some serious havoc. This was written by Paul Schrader and it makes a nice bookend with Taxi Driver, a very similar picture, although almost an inverse. William Devane's character is incredibly sane. Going on a killing spree with a hook for a hand is a natural response to the insanity around him. He's basically a trustworthy Travis Bickle. As pulpy as this film sounds, and it's pretty pulpy, it's also a well-made drama and a bleak character portrait of returning soldiers.

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