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The Crossing Guard Movie Review

nicholson huston morse penn

Sean Penn comes of age as a mature screenwriter and director with this beautifully rendered study of forgiveness. Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston play the divorced parents of a little girl killed by hit-and-run drunk driver David Morse, who has just completed his term in prison for manslaughter. Huston is re-married to a patient, decent guy and has come to terms with her grief over her lost child, but the embittered Nicholson has not and cannot. All he can think of when Morse is released is that now he can finally kill him. He pays a visit to him, gun in hand, but it doesn't go off, and Morse asks him to reconsider his decision for a few days. Morse is genuinely regretful for his crime, and still feels enormous guilt as he remembers his victim's last words. Nicholson continues to stew in his own anguish and self-imposed isolation until his long-numbed conscience awakens him from a nightmare. In his terror, he calls his ex-wife for help, and then Huston and Nicholson share a sequence charged with gut-grinding emotional honesty. What follows for Nicholson is uglier than any nightmare, as he is finally forced to confront the potential killer within himself. Nicholson, Huston, and Morse are all outstanding. An interesting touch for film noir buffs is that classy chanteuse Hadda Brooks, who appeared in Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place in 1950 (in which Humphrey Bogart battled with HIS private demons), is also in The Crossing Guard, looking as elegant as ever.

1994 (R) 111m/C Jack Nicholson, Anjelica Huston, David Morse, Robin Wright Penn, Robbie Robertson, Piper Laurie, Richard Bradford, John Savage, Priscilla Barnes, Kari Wuhrer, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Richard Sarafian, Jeff Morris, Joe Viterelli, Eileen Ryan, Ryo Ishibashi, Michael Ryan, Nicky Blair, Gene Kirkwood, Jason Kristofer, Hadda Brooks; D: Sean Penn; W: Sean Penn; C: Vilmos Zsigmond; M: Jack Nitzsche. Nominations: Golden Globe Awards ‘96: Best Supporting Actress (Huston); Independent Spirit Awards ‘96: Best Supporting Actor (Morse); Screen Actors Guild Award ‘95: Best Supporting Actress (Huston). VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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