In one of a very limited number of films the great Clint Eastwood starred in since 1990 that he didn’t also direct, Wolfgang Petersen’s In the Line of Fire is a rather basic and unsurprising 90s thriller that offers nothing particularly innovative in its delivery, but the performances of its leads elevate it from being totally forgettable.
Eastwood plays Frank Horrigan, a Secret Service agent plagued with guilt over his failure to protect JFK in Dallas, 1963. When threats are made on the life of the current president from a disillusioned and psychotic former CIA agent (John Malkovich), Horrigan swears to not let another die on his watch.
The film is, at its core, a cat-and-mouse tale between Eastwood’s Horrigan and Malkovich’s volatile assassin. The two performances are excellent, with Malkovich especially shining as he does what he does best as the film’s murderous villain. His performance earned one of the film’s three Academy Award nominations, with the editing and screenplay also acknowledged. A score from the celebrated maestro Ennio Morricone also lends an undeniable quality to proceedings.
But while In the Line of Fire is a taut production from top to bottom, there’s no denying that without Eastwood and Malkovich it would be just another forgettable 90s thriller. It certainly doesn’t come close to other beloved 90s thrillers like The Usual Suspects and Se7en, but it’s a fun ride that looks remarkable in 4K UHD. This new transfer of the film presents the definitive transfer of the film, with an explosive Dolby Atmos track pulling the viewer right into the action. One can only hope that some of Eastwood’s other celebrated performances – Dirty Harry, especially – aren’t far behind on the format.
IN THE LINE OF FIRE is available now on 4K UHD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment