The Mean Season (1985)

Genres - Crime, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Feb 15, 1985 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Borsos' engrossing, deliberately paced thriller boasts a career performance by Richard Jordan, but its formulaic finish cops out on the issues the film has raised. Another twist on the theme of the power of the press as a vehicle for self-aggrandizement that Billy Wilder first explored in Ace in the Hole (1951), it adds the pet Hitchcock-ian theme of the secret sharer, suggesting the killer's insane hunger for attention as a distorted reflection of the more carefully concealed ambition of Russell's journalist. Borsos' intelligent, low-key direction plays down the potentially sensational aspects of the story, never showing a murder, and keeping the gore at a discreet distance. Richard Jordan is brilliantly creepy as the disturbed killer, a man so vulnerable within the fascinatingly elaborate system of paranoid delusion he inhabits, that he almost gains his captive's sympathy. Russell, if not entirely credible as a journalist tortured by ethical questions, is convincing as a bereft lover and as a foil for the madman. Andy Garcia is also quietly effective as a detective assigned to the case. While the film never resolves the questions about the uglier aspects of ambition and the quest for fame, it succeeds as an above-average thriller.