Absence of Malice

1981

Drama / Romance / Thriller

102
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 11,688

Synopsis


Downloaded times
September 26, 2020

Director

Cast

Bob Balaban as Rosen
Melinda Dillon as Teresa
Paul Newman as Gallagher
Sally Field as Beatnik Girl in Lineup
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.04 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
116 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.94 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
116 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9 / 10 / 10

Does Anyone Remember Maurice Nadjari?

For a while back in the seventies the hottest political property in New York State was one Maurice Nadjari. He was appointed a special prosecutor and ran up a big string of convictions of various figures on the New York scene. Then his convictions began being tossed out one by one until a once feared figure became a laughingstock. Turned out he used tactics very similar to those countenanced by Bob Balaban in this film. Nadjari turned out in the end to be worse than any of the people he was prosecuting. That's the message here, don't idealize some of these prosecutors on a white horse. Bob Balaban is part of the Justice Department Strike Force looking into the murder of a labor leader in Florida. It's been months and his investigation is yielding bupkis. So he tries some extralegal tactics. Paul Newman is the son of a reputed mobster, but who's been out of the rackets for years. But Balaban leaks to gullible reporter Sally Field that Newman is the target of his investigation. The idea is for Newman to go undercover and work to get information on his uncle, Luther Adler, who Balaban suspects. Newman's reputation is smashed and Balaban's actions lead to the death of Melinda Dillon who is a friend of Newman's. Paul Newman was nominated for Best Actor, but lost to Henry Fonda that year for On Golden Pond. Sally Field was at the height of her career. This film came right around the time she got her two Oscars for Norma Rae and Places in the Heart. The leads and cast are just fine. This turned out to be the farewell picture of Luther Adler, one of the great character actors in the history of film. However the two people this film really belongs to are Bob Balaban and Wilford Brimley. Balaban got his career role in this as Elliott Rosen of the Organized Crime Strike Force. He is truly one loathsome little creep. All it's about with him is getting another notch on his belt, another scalp for the lodgepole. And then there's Wilford Brimley. He's the big honcho from Washington, DC sent down to do damage control when it all blows up in their faces. He gathers all the principals together at the very end of the film, like Nick Charles would, and dispenses the justice accordingly. He's on the screen for about twenty unforgettable minutes. The office of prosecutor in our system is one of responsibility and should never be entrusted to any lightweights or any overly ambitious folks.

Reviewed by Gislef 10 / 10 / 10

Compelling

There's really no other word for it. I find the whole of this movie compelling, from Sally Fields' naivete to Paul Newman's innocent who turns the tables on his prosecutors, to the various supporting characters who all have their little niche. The best of all is Wilford Brimley, who gets to chew scenery and totally steal the scene he's in. It's an intelligent drama, addressing a subject as relevant today as it was in '81, with just enough humor to leaven the whole thing.

Reviewed by fung0 10 / 10 / 10

Difficult but highly rewarding

I'm not at all surprised to see so many reviewers utterly failed to 'get' this film. Given the charismatic big-name stars and the sunny Miami setting, they can be forgiven for expecting to see some sort of conventional romantic cops-and-robbers buddy flick. She's the tough reporter; he's the murder suspect. They have every reason to hate each other - yet they're drawn irresistibly together...! Predictable soaper ensues. But this is definitely NOT that movie. The irresistible Sally Fields plays an utterly despicable character: a reporter whose greed for the big scoop over-rides all other considerations, and whose unforgivable stupidity leads to several ruined lives. Government investigators - led by Bob Balaban, in a brilliantly slimy performance - exploit Fields to demolish Newman's reputation. It's a sordid tale, with no admirable characters. Newman is the most sympathetic, but he too plays hardball, forgiving nothing, giving nothing away - and even becoming shamefully violent (albeit only when pushed beyond all human endurance by Fields' thoughtlessly destructive actions). The film is built on several kinds of misdirection. While the story is ostensibly a battle of wills between Newman, Fields and Balaban, Pollack uses it to quietly unfold a moral puzzle. How can people like Fields do so much harm while always thinking they're doing the right thing? And while Balaban seems to be the villain (and is certainly no nice guy), the real evil is represented by a bland, conventional background character whom you'll barely notice the first time through. Fields' editor is a quiet, buttoned-down nice guy, full of fatherly platitudes about journalism. But he's the one who's absolutely certain he's doing good, while actually having no regard for any point of view but his own. And he's the one who epitomizes what's wrong with modern journalism: its willingness to report assertions by self-interested parties as if they were fact. Don't be fooled: this is a serious, challenging film. It offers no easy answers, and asks viewers to consider tough moral choices. But it's also one of my personal favorites: a perfectly constructed ethical Rubik's Cube, which solves itself with the inevitability and precision of some fine mechanism. And it's definitely worth seeing just for Wilford Brimley's delicious scene at the end - reminiscent of the little dinner parties at the end of the Thin Man movies, or of the entry of Fortinbras, cleaning up the corpses at the end of Hamlet.

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