Urban Cinefile
"I knew that this experience was not going to come around again"  -Jonathan Pryce on his role in Evita
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday September 22, 2019 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Jeff (Russell) sets off cross country from Boston to San Diego with his wife Amy (Quinlan) to leave his troubles behind and start afresh. The scenic route through the fantastic desert spaces of the American Southwest offers not only beauty but isolation. And danger he never dreamt about. Following a near-miss with a truck, their 4WD breaks down on a road deserted but for an 18-wheel truck that appears on the horizon. The driver, Red (Walsh), offers them a ride to a nearby truckstop diner: Amy goes, Jeff stays with the car. Fidgety, he discovers the simple cause of his breakdown: loose wires. Fixed, he drives to the truckstop diner, where his wife has not been seen. So the locals say. Now agitated, Jeff hits the road in search of the trucker who took his wife, but when he finds the rig, Red denies ever having seen either of them. Highway patrol is unable to help, either, so Jeff is alone - and scared. His desperation drives him to chase Red, trying to locate his wife, and ends up having to try and bail her out with their life savings, but the plan goes wrong - for all concerned.

"Breakdown is high class Hollywood entertainment, with a suspenseful script, immaculate performances and spectacular stunts. This is the kind of film that Hollywood does so well with star power and a big budget. While the initial premise brings feelings of déjà vu, the overall impact develops into a thriller with a different tempo. Kurt Russell gives a totally satisfying performance as an ordinary man placed in an extraordinary situation. His very human reactions which develop into heroics by necessity are paced in a most credible way. Russell’s sequence under a moving truck is thrilling and suspenseful, being the beginning of the crescendo to the spectacular climax. J.T. Walsh is deliciously complex, his presence adding substantial weight to the film. The vast, dusty landscape is barren and ominous: there is an eerie desperation that evolves from being in such a still, isolated environment, where society’s rules seem to have little impact. There is lots of tension and oomph beautifully built with Basil Poledouris’ evocative and suspenseful music soundtrack."
Louise Keller

"Talented fella, this Mostow, having written the script and directed it, he also had a hand in the lyrics for This Game of Love, one of the many excellent tracks on the soundtrack, many produced (and some co-written) by Jeff Pecetto, another talented fella. All in all, a talent laden film, with (as Louise says) the best kind of Hollywood expertise. (Mostow, incidentally, began his filmmaking career while at Harvard, with a number of award winning shorts and documentaries.) Mostow wanted "everything in this movie to feel real and truthful," and he succeeds; he also succeeds with the decision to shoot it anamorphic (wide-screen) to give it a classic look, straightforward and un-stylised. Let the action propel the audience, and it does. From the wellspring of a well honed script, Mostow fashions a gripping thriller with plenty of suspense, tons of character-based emotion-pushing and great music to drive it along. Combining physical and psychological suspense, Breakdown is highly satisfying entertainment - and the perfect film if you are about to set off across Australia in a 4WD thinking you’re well prepared."
Andrew L. Urban

Email this article



CAST: Kurt Russell, J.T. Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan, M.C. Gainey, Jack Noseworthy, Rex Linn, Ritch Brinkley, Moira Harris

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Mostow

PRODUCER: Martha de Laurentiis, Dino de Laurentiis

SCRIPT: Jonathan Mostow, Sam Montgomery (story by Mostow)


EDITOR: Derek Brechin, Kevin Stitt

MUSIC: Basil Poledouris


RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes



© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2019