"The Falcon And The Snowman"
Dir. John Schlesinger
Scr. Steven Zallian
Release Date: January 25, 1985
I don't know why anyone else went to go see anything. I can only speak for myself, and at this point, I was already enough of a fan of Sean Penn that the idea of him in a film with Timothy Hutton, just the two of them, head to head, in this true life story of betrayal and murdery… oh, man, was I down for that.
What the film actually delivered is a damning portrait of spoiled incompetence and entitled self-destruction, and I think it's a really ugly film. It's the film Schlesinger meant to make. It's never a big action film, which is sort of how it was sold. Instead, it's a genuine showdown between actors. Penn was the standout for me in this one, but the reason it's endured is because of the music that David Bowie and Pat Metheny wrote for it. Like many somewhat-iffy movies, they have soundtracks that are so good that they are worth owning the movie. Just put it on and listen to it. This is a film where even the most depression and gut-wrentching stuff that happens is set to a compulsively listenable soundtrack. But it's also one of the first times I realized just how far Penn was wiling to push himself in pursuit of character work, and I went back to see the film several times to watch him, something that happened repeatedly over the course of his career.