Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Americana, Biopic [feature]  |   Release Date - Aug 12, 1988 (USA)  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Mike DiBella

Francis Ford Coppola's story of a man who dared to challenge the Big Three automakers with an inventive style of car is watchable but mostly blase. The film's overall tone is dull and lifeless, buoyed significantly by Jeff Bridges' inspired portrayal of real-life renegade automobile entrepreneur Preston Tucker. Fortunately, the film gains additional strength from a solid narrative and a supporting cast including Martin Landau, Lloyd Bridges, and a young Christian Slater. Also satisfactory is the industrial brownish tint of the cinematography and newsreel feel of the film, which lend it a plush pseudo-40's/50's ambience. This technique would later be mirrored in such Coen Brothers works as Barton Fink and Hudsucker Proxy, but the darkly humorous slant of those films made the style more suitable and effective. While Tucker invokes such issues as individual proprietorship vs. monopolies, free enterprise, and The American Dream, the treatment of these issues simply carryies no lasting significance and import. The biographical study of Tucker is glancing and incomplete and the film offers very little in the way of food for thought. In the end, it is part of Coppola's mostly forgettable post-Apocalypse Now/Godfather material, and suggests the director very well might have created lofty standards that he could never duplicate in later films.