JONATHAN MOSTOW’S BREAKDOWN — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Breakdown is a top-notch thriller that Hitchcock would have loved, and a film I’ve watched a ton of times and will never get tired of revisiting. This is easily director Jonathan Mostow’s best film; it’s extremely tense stuff, with a nasty, economical, and devious screenplay that he co-wrote with Sam Montgomery. Kurt Russell’s fantastic performance is one of my personal favorites from this most versatile and underrated actor, and the invaluable 90’s character actor J.T. Walsh dropped one of his signature baddie performances, but note how his character is shaded just enough; this guy was so great in everything he appeared in and always a treat to watch. Kathleen Quinlan was perfect as the damsel in distress. This is a nightmarish thrill-ride, shot with verve and energy by Douglas Milsome, crisply edited by Derek Brechin and Kevin Stitt, with a logical-enough finale, even if it doesn’t plumb the depths of darkness in the way that something like the original The Vanishing did. This is one of the more underrated studio thrillers from the late 90’s, and a title that’s way overdue for a Blu-ray upgrade. Basil Poledouris’ supremely effective and riveting musical score is the icing on the cake.

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