Taking its name from the Hollywood designation for special effects, 1986's F/X is a clever little thriller that relies on one of the classic staples of the genre: the thin line between reality and illusion. The absorbing premise concerns a special-effects man for low-budget horror films (Bryan Brown) who is forced into hiding after helping the government's witness protection program "kill" an informant gangster. Needless to say, there is a rapid series of tricky plot twists, and nothing and no one are what they seem. The intrigue in F/X is reminiscent of cat-and-mouse films of the 1970s like Charley Varrick or Three Days of the Condor; but the film's showy climax is straight out of a high-adrenaline action movie. Director Robert Mandel spends a surprising amount of time fleshing out the characters, and Brown and Brian Dennehy reward that decision with interesting performances. The film was a moderate hit upon its release and spawned a lesser sequel, F/X 2.