In the Line of Fire

In the Line of Fire ★★★★

Rewatch to celebrate my man’s 91st birthday. I am inordinately fond of this methodical, slow-moving cat-and-mouse thriller, where Clint Eastwood plays a secret service agent who was present for JFK’s assassination and John Malkovich the serial killer who torments him 30 years later. Although Eastwood didn’t direct, it’s still an effective twist on his perennial theme, especially in the later part of his career: the thin line between trauma and heroics. The historical backdrop adds another interesting layer to this theme—it’s the unresolved trauma of an entire nation linked to Eastwood’s iconic image. Maybe all of this is just window-dressing for the electricity of seeing Eastwood (in full movie star mode) and Malkovich (in full dead-eyed creep mode), a truly wonderful mismatched pair, face off.