Cinema: Hard Labor

STRAIGHT TIME Directed by Ulu Grosbard Screenplay by Alvin Sargent, Edward Bunker and Jeffrey Boam

It takes guts to make a movie as bleak and uncompromising as this new Dustin Hoffman vehicle—misplaced guts. The story of a compulsive small-time crook with a lousy past and a doomed future, Straight Time makes a fetish of refusing the audience any frills. The movie aims only to describe its unappealing protagonist as coolly as possible—without tears or laughs or passion. This it accomplishes, but at a very steep price: while Straight Time offers a convincing portrait of...

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