Bulletproof Heart | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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You've probably never heard of this crime picture and love story (1994), but it's almost certainly the best American genre movie released so far this year--the sort of beautifully crafted personal effort that would qualify as a sleeper if our film industry still allowed sleepers to function as they did in the 50s. Given the kinky (and highly erotic) sex scenes and the quirky comedy, the expert handling of actors and the playful experimenting with both narrative form and genre expectations, one is tempted to compare writer-director Mark Malone to Quentin Tarantino. But in fact he stands Tarantino squarely on his head; this movie, originally titled Killer (and scripted for contractual reasons under a pseudonym), about the unexpected overnight awakening and humanizing of a cold-blooded hit man (Anthony LaPaglia) by his willing victim (Mimi Rogers) puts back the tenderness and conscience that Tarantino removed from his pulp sources, and does it with soul as well as style. Apart from the wonderful leads, Matt Craven and Peter Boyle are both inspired--and often very funny--in secondary parts. The story may wind up haunting you for days. Like the ad writers, I'm tempted to call this movie a noir, but since it isn't misogynist that would be misleading. Just go see it before it disappears. Pipers Alley.

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