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Straight Time (1978)

Drama | 114 minutes
3,68 115 votes

Genre: Drama / Crime

Duration: 114 minuten

Country: United States

Directed by: Ulu Grosbard

Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Theresa Russell and Gary Busey

IMDb score: 7,4 (10.133)

Releasedate: 18 March 1978

Straight Time plot

""Please God, don't let him get caught.""

After being released early, a thief tries to stay on track and look for a job. However, he is soon back in jail (through no fault of his own) by a fanatical, power-hungry police officer. When he is released, he accuses the police officer, steals his car and ends up on the crime path again.

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avatar van memorable


  • 173 messages
  • 1497 votes

The appeal of this film is that it lets the story speak for itself, and gives us a lot to think about what kind of personality we are dealing with in the person of Dustin Hoffman. It remains ambiguous in any case, because no matter how much horror we may feel for the slippery probation officer, once Hoffman's gates are over, the sympathy we previously felt for him dwindles because the deeds he commits in a certain way. At the moment it can become very brutal. So as standard system criticism (the government that helps to reproduce the crime) this film doesn't quite function either. At the same time, the sympathy we feel for Max Dembo never completely disappears, because it is partly due to Hoffman's impulsiveness that he completely derails. Gary Busey's role in the whole becomes somewhat caricatured towards the end, and although a coward-traitor had to come into play, Busey's dastardly countenance inin the for him fatal scene is a bit too straight. In that respect, the role of Dean Stanton, who has to serve as a hesitant, but wisely nuanced counterbalance, is a lot more interesting. The bank robbery scene was very reminiscent of Michael Mann's Heat , and evoked a similar feeling in me.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van Collins


  • 6283 messages
  • 3742 votes

A film with a beautiful role by Dustin Hoffman. A somewhat lesser known work by director Ulu Grosbard. Unjustly unknown, because the story is good, the cast is good and the direction is good.

In particular, Hoffman's fantastic acting lifts the film far above the average. His character has nuance. His character is differentiated. His character creates tension. He pulls everyone around him into the heights or the abyss. His character represents a lurking danger that the entire movie is about to erupt in every scene. It condenses. It's stretching again. It's simmering. As certain greedy and unscrupulous traits in Hoffman's character become apparent over the course of the story, the explosion hazard is a magnificently menacing factor in the story.

The film zooms in on the devilish vicious circle from which a notorious criminal can hardly escape. His confrontations with the bureaucracy in the form of probation officer M. Emmet Walsh are frustrating, harrowing and foster understanding for Hoffman's choices. Nice role also by Walsh as an arrogant authority figure who irritated me very much. Unfortunately, the man disappears too early from the film. With a memorable bang. Yes.

A young and stunning Theresa Russel has a somewhat flat and unfathomable role. The script gives her character too little space to fully develop. When asked why on earth she is attracted to the explosive criminal Hoffman, I struggled a bit. Unfortunately, there is no satisfactory answer to this question. In any case, it felt unsatisfactory how her character's potential is not sufficiently exploited by the script. How clever of Russell to be so fantastically present with the scant elements she receives from the writers. Superb actress.

Straight Time is exciting, looks uncomfortable and doesn't even have a clichéd happy ending. Very refreshing. Nice movie.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van james_cameron


  • 6008 messages
  • 9126 votes

Excellent crime drama with Dustin Hoffman in top form as a recently released criminal who struggles to stay on the straight and narrow. The plot (based on a book by Edward Bunker, who also has a small part here) can pass but is subordinate; it is mainly the nice raw atmosphere setting and dialogues, as well as the colorful supporting cast that manage to make something memorable out of this. Beautiful roles by Theresa Russell, M. Emmet Walsh, Harry Dean Stanton and Gary Busey. The latter also has a remarkable scene with his still very young son Jake. The later bastard of that guy is already clearly recognizable.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original