- Movie Rating -

Love and Bullets (1979)

| September 14, 1979

Something is very wrong here.  Love and Bullets is a very bad film, but not simply in the ways of bad writing or bad acting.  It seems to go wrong on the very basic level of film construction, as if it were made by people who didn’t have a basic idea of what movies were supposed to be.  Right from the start you get the sense that it doesn’t feel like a movie, more like a collection of clips shuffled together more or less haphazardly in a way that feels awkward.  In that, it displays a basic failure in communicating information to audience.  The opening scene of the movie is so harried, so rushed, so poorly edited that you might think that you’re looking at the rushes. 

There’s something off about it right away.  It starts with an opening credits sequence over still shots of a snowy mountain backed with music played on a fortepiano that seems all wrong for an action thriller.  Then it quick-cuts through a series of scenes that feel like they’d be at home in a television drama halfway through its season, as if we have already been introduced to Charles Bronson’s character and we’ve missed a few episodes.  This is a very disorienting way to open a movie.

Bronson must have known he was in a very bad movie because he sleepwalks through a joyless role, has about 12 lines of dialogue and can’t seem to raise enough energy to be properly menacing. Even during the shootouts, he looks bored.  This is another one of his half-assed post-Death Wish retreads, and this one has him playing an Arizona cop named Congers, who travels to Switzerland to bring in the ditzy girlfriend of a mob boss so that she can testify against him.

The characters here seem to have come from another planet.  The mob boss Joe Bomposa is played by Rod Steiger in a performance I couldn’t figure out.  He’s supposed to be a feared gangster but when we see him, he looks like a sweaty accountant in a bad toupee.  And for some reason the filmmakers thought he needed to give him a bad stutter.  Why was that necessary?

As for the girl, she’s played by the usually luminous Jill Ireland but for whatever reason, she is given a very bad wig and told to speak in squeaky southern accent, like someone doing a bad impression of Dolly Parton.  The character is off-putting and grates on your nerves, and that doesn’t help when we are supposed to care about her safety.

I’m not being glib. Love and Bullets is a thoroughly unpleasant experience to sit through.  The action doesn’t work.  The characters are repellant.  The actors look bored.  The love story is non-existent and on a basic fundamental level, these filmmakers really should have more pride in their craft.  Shame on them.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1979) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized