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Movie Review

Desperate Measures

MPAA Rating: R for violence and language

Reviewed by: Bob Thompson
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Action/adventure
Length:
100 min.
Year of Release:
1998
R

Starring: Michael Keaton, Andy Garcia, Brian Cox, Marcia Gay Harden, Eric King, Efrain Figueroa / Director: Barbet Schroeder / Released by: TriStar Pictures

“Desperate Measures” is an entertaining and complicated action-adventure movie. I wanted to dislike the film for its relativistic approach to right and wrong; but, I had to like it because, on another level, it was the story of a love—true and strong—shared between a father and son.

In the film’s intense opening scene we see policeman Frank Connor (Andy Garcia), with a friend breaking into an FBI database. Immediately following this we learn the reason for the break-in. Frank, goes to visit the only person who can help him. Peter, “Pete” McCabe (Micheal Keaton) a sociopathic murderer with a penchant for escaping from police. McCabe is the only match for Connor’s 4th grade son, Matt, who desperately needs a bone marrow transplant to survive the leukemia that is killing him.

What follows are some truly touching scenes and dialogue between father and son, some of which put a lump in my throat; mixed with high speed chase scenes and some gunfire and hostage scenes. The other theme that is developed in this film is the natural tension produced by the confrontation between the cop, Connor, and the criminal, McCabe—between the father, and the only person who can help him.

As these two face off, the theme of redemption is developed. Initially, McCabe scoffs when Connor brings this up, “I can’t imagine a God who would care.” Later, there seems to be a tacit agreement that if McCabe does consent to the procedure, it will be “a little bit like redemption.”

This film has some profanity, and violence, so I would not take younger viewers. I would take my teenagers to see this film; however, because the dilemma faced by this loving father confronted by this murderer; the choices both make; and the human drama inherent in this conflict all bring up excellent points of discussion.