The Osterman Weekend

Adapted from a Robert Ludlum potboiler, Sam Peckinpah's demented final movie from 1983 ostensibly centres on TV reporter Rutger Hauer, who, coerced by sinister CIA men Burt Lancaster and John Hurt into selling out old pals, allows them to rig his home with cameras to monitor their weekend reunion. It's soon clear Peckinpah has far more interest in Hurt, brilliant as the betrayed rogue agent whose maniacal plotting drives the film over the edge. A bizarre pile-up of double-triple-crossing, it's almost impossible to follow; but then, confusion and panic are what the film is about.

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Adapted from a Robert Ludlum potboiler, Sam Peckinpah’s demented final movie from 1983 ostensibly centres on TV reporter Rutger Hauer, who, coerced by sinister CIA men Burt Lancaster and John Hurt into selling out old pals, allows them to rig his home with cameras to monitor their weekend reunion. It’s soon clear Peckinpah has far more interest in Hurt, brilliant as the betrayed rogue agent whose maniacal plotting drives the film over the edge. A bizarre pile-up of double-triple-crossing, it’s almost impossible to follow; but then, confusion and panic are what the film is about. Revolving around eternal Peckinpah themes?loyalty, betrayal, revenge?it’s a dense, alienating tangle of surveillance, sex, drugs and violence, climaxing in a holocaust of machine-guns and crossbows staged around a burning swimming pool and a lecture on the evils of television. All in all, not so much a movie as a twitchily convulsive essay in rampant paranoia. But one hell of a way to go out.

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