Dir: Richard Tuggle, 1984
For a time, Clint Eastwood films were a bit hit and miss. There is some classic films, such as Magnum Force, Sudden Impact, High Plains Drifter and many others. However, there are just as many forgettable ones. Tightrope is one such film.
Detective Wes Block (Eastwood) is on the hunt for serial rapist and killer. A divorced father of two, Block is a lonely and broken man, seeking comfort with prostitutes and unable to feel or allow genuine human affection.
The premise is good, if unoriginal. With echoes of William Friedkin’s Cruising, Tuggle’s film plays like a TV movie but less interesting.
Dull and lifeless, Tightrope betrays the films title with its lack of psychological elements. A psychologist explains that every body walks a tightrope between their dark side and normal side. However, here, the killer is a psycho. There is no mental balancing act so, therefore, no ‘tightrope’.
But that’s not the problem with the film. The problem is the pacing. Unbearably slow, you find yourself looking at your watch and being disheartened that what seems like an hour and a half is, only, fifty minutes into the movie.
Eastwood is capable of so much but seemed to get bogged down with police thrillers where the character is little different than his Dirty Harry persona.
Despite Tuggle’s director credit, Eastwood himself actually directed the majority of the film and can only be blamed for the mediocre direction and poor pacing. Watching this, you kind of get the feeling that Eastwood’s heart wasn’t really in it.
Films if this nature seemed to be in abundance in the early eighties and Tightrope isn’t really all that different to 10 To Midnight and the others of that ilk but less memorable.