At Close Range Review

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Christopher Walken plays the estranged father (Brad Whitewood Snr.) of Sean Penn (Brad Whitewood Jr.), whose gang of petty youths is getting too close to the truth of his misdeeds. Whitewood Snr. begins to silence them one by one, but will he stop at Whitewood Jnr?


A crooked father (Christopher Walken) exerts an ultimately fatal attraction over his estranged son (Sean Penn). This is a tough movie, with unrelenting, unapologetic performances by the two leads, who seem to play off each other’s coldness in the face of such narrative nastiness. There is also another oddball characterisation to behold from Crispin Glover, as Penn’s epicene pal. But this is about the depth of it. What remains is a kind of gauntlet thrown down to the audience as each of Penn’s youthful gang members are picked off by his father – how long can you watch this kind of thing?

Engaging performances by Penn and Walken can’t quite turn this brutal curio into something more substantial.