Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 


San Francisco police officer Frank Connor's (Andy Garcia) searches desperately for a compatible bone marrow donor for his gravely ill son Matt (Joseph Cross), who is under the care of Dr Samantha Hawkins (Marcia Gay Harden). He finally succeeds in finding a match, but there's a catch – the potential donor is convicted multiple murderer Peter McCabe (Michael Keaton), who sees a trip to the hospital as the perfect opportunity to get what he wants most - freedom. With McCabe's escape, the entire hospital becomes a battleground and Connor pursues, but ironically, has to protect the deadly fugitive, who is his son's only hope for survival.

"Formulaic and contrived, Desperate Measures is a slick, well made thriller which doesn’t quite cut the mustard. Shame, because there are some really good elements. Top of the list, is the engaging performance by a very fit Michael Keaton, who jumps from the screen as a complex, evil maniac. Keaton makes a great baddie with his expressive leering, face magnified in extreme close-up. But the script is totally unbelievable, taking the characters down a ludicrous road which is at times, farcial. Andy Garcia, who delivers some good moments, is badly let down by the script; what should be an exciting, tension packed film, becomes rather mundane and sadly for the most part, uninvolving. Marcia Gay Harden gives a sympathetic performance as the caring doctor and Brian Cox is solid as the commanding officer. Trevor Jones’ dark, turbulent score contributes to the mounting tension, and I especially like the striking opening credits. There’s plenty of top action and stunts - a thrilling car chase, helicopter manoevres, big bangs and explosions galore. Perhaps Desperate Measure is trying to be too many things all at once - a profound family drama and at the same time a chase movie spiked with action. There are too few moving moments, and although Keaton is a treat to watch, Desperate Measures should measure up considerably more."
Louise Keller

Email this article



Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0


CAST: Michael Keaton, Andy Garcia, Brian Cox, Marcia Gay Harden, Eric King, Efrain Figueroa, Joseph Cross, Janel Maloney, Richard Riehle

DIRECTOR: Barbet Schroeder

PRODUCER: Barbet Schroeder, Susan Hoffman, Gary Foster, Lee Rich

SCRIPT: David Klass


EDITOR: Lee Percy

MUSIC: Trevor Jones

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Geoffrey Kirkland

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes




VIDEO RELEASE: July 12, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

RRP: $24.95

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020