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Against All Odds (1984) Dir- Taylor Hackford

Further and further down the rabbit hole I go….yes, my journey back into the cultural vortex that was the 1980’s continues. Intentional? I don’t think so though there is a sense within that I cannot control these impulsive decisions which often veer towards emotionalism. Truth is, I was looking for a way to shoehorn this clip in to whatever thematic framework I could come up with plus it features Jeff Bridges! But don’t fear! This retreat into my childhood will be halted for fear of exhausting this limited cultural memory bank of mine.

All of that taken into account, it must be noted that this scene, the climax to Taylor Hackford’s 1984 remake of Jacques Torneur’s classic 1940’s film noir Out of the Past got my brain into gear and hurtled me towards the central idea of this freewheeling serial of cinematic sorrow. It has three essential factors which made it irresistible; A beautiful woman- Rachel Ward- crying, Jeff Bridges at his most handsome even with the de rigeur period ‘beard’ and the only Phil Collins tune I could ever tolerate playing over the end credits.

Hackford audaciously holds the camera on Wards stricken face for about two minutes straight with no cutaways as she gazes at Bridges and well, it’s one of the most romantic and moving images I’ve seen for quite a while. Against All Odds is not high art and is certainly no classic. In fact, aside from the title song it has pretty much been forgotten over the years, overshadowed by it’s highly regarded black and white predecessor which has only gained in stature over the years and is regarded as a classic of it’s type.

Even taken out of context or with just a cursory knowledge of the films plot- disgraced ex-football player hired by his shady best friend to find his girlfriend, falls in love with girlfriend, the same girl betrays him and so on…- the scene is ripe with thwarted romantic longing and both Ward and Bridges effectively convey their characters sense of loss and resignation, both powerless to their attraction and yet possibly fated to be apart.

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