“I am self-employed. I am doing fine. I don’t deal with egos, I am Joe the boss of my own body.” Starring James Caan as a Chicago safecracker who gets yoked by the Mob, Michael Mann’s word-perfect debut feature film inaugurates his cool, seductive catalogue of crime professionals with a code. Against the nighttime gleam of location shooting (by DP Donald Thorin), Caan butts heads with fatally familial gangster (a vicious Robert Prosky). A superb Weld is the waitress, worn out but still waiting, with whom he hopes to cheat time, per Mann’s constant mantra. With Willie Nelson as Caan’s mentor, Dennis Farina (then still a detective) as a crime underling, and great mesmerizing slabs of electronic soundtrack by Tangerine Dream.
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