Palmetto | Chicago Reader


It takes way too long for anyone to ask reporter Harry Barber (Woody Harrelson) why he does the things he does in this sordid story. If you can buy that the savvy journalist—who's exposed political corruption in a Florida town and been rewarded with a trumped-up charge that he was involved in it—is so bitter when he's released from prison that he becomes stupid in a matter of seconds, then you might accept his later shifts from dumb to smart and back again. Bored and living off old girlfriend Gina Gershon, Harrelson has the foresight to tape a conversation with Elisabeth Shue during which she asks him to help her commit a phony kidnapping—yet when it becomes crucial that he produce the tape, he takes forever recalling that he even made it. If a double cross is interesting, a quadruple cross should be more so. But because so many female characters spend so much time trying to seduce Harrelson (usually successfully), the notion that multiplicity enhances intrigue is pretty worn out by the time any duplicity is revealed. Directed by Volker Schlondorff; written by E. Max Frye, based on the novel Just Another Sucker by James Hadley Chase.

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