Monday, December 12, 2005

WINTER KILLS (1979) - William Richert

Hey, it’s Jeff Bridges again! This time he’s playing Robert Kennedy, or maybe Teddy Kennedy, or maybe…shit, I give up. Either way, this is a very, very thinly-veiled take on the JFK assassination and the conspiracies therein. Sure, everyone’s named Kegan instead of Kennedy, but hey, who are we foolin’ here?

Bridges plays Nick Kegan, the brother of an assassinated former President who stumbles on a dying man who claims to have been the second shooter on that infamous day. Nick records his dying words and follows his directions to a book depository in, uh, Philadelphia where he finds the hidden gun that supposedly killed his brother.
All this upsets the patriarch of the political family, old Joe…er...Pa Kegan (John Huston), who sends his son off on an extended wild goose chase (or is it?) to track down the other players in the conspiracy that may have murdered his brother. This takes Bridges to everyone from Sterling Hayden to Anthony Perkins to Eli Wallach (as Jack Rub…er, Joe Diamond) to, well, you get the picture.
Not only are the characters all over the map in this one, but so is the tone. It tries to ride the line between political thriller and dark comedy, often falling short of either genre. I’m all for the odd genre-mixing (and to a fault I might add), but this time the end result is just…odd. Not bad per se, but odd. Watch this one as a whimsical antidote to Oliver Stone’s JFK.

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