Remakes are rarely a good idea, particularly if you’re a semi defrocked filmmaker and your headliners are Mikey Rourke who’s self-infliction was becoming more rampant in the late 80’s and early 90’s and a pre-SILENCE OF THE LAMBS Anthony Hopkins who’s star was on the fade. Back all of that up by remaking a seminal Bogart film and releasing it to critical annihilation and an uninterested box office and we are left with a film that doesn’t find its audience until decades later.
Michael Cimino’s DESPERATE HOURS is a remarkable film. It’s angry and brooding, wonderfully shot by Doug Milsome, and features two fierce performances from Rourke and Hopkins. Mickey Rourke gives one of the finest performances of his career as Michael Bosworth whose freakishly high IQ wrapped along with his sociopathic tendencies makes for a fantastic villain and a very showy performance from Rourke.
Rourke is an escaped murderer on the lamb, he holds up in Hopkins’ house, where his family gets held captive by Rourke and his two lackeys. Hopkins slowly pits Rourke’s paranoia and anxiety against him and his crew, slowly manipulating and faking them out at every turn. Seeing Rourke and Hopkins go head to head in a fight between alpha males is worth the price of admission alone.
We all know about the rise and fall of Michael Cimino, and while the tide has completely turned on HEAVEN’S GATE, Cimino’s back catalog is more than deserving of being revisited. DESPERATE HOURS isn’t a perfect film, but for anyone who loves dark and brooding films, this film is perfect for you.