Against All Odds Movie Review
Everyone has at least one movie that they love that very few others do. In my case it is the 1984 erotic thriller Against All Odds starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward and James Woods. The film was directed by Taylor Hackford, who had previously made An Officer and a Gentleman and would many years later direct the Ray Charles biopic Ray. Despite a great cast and an up and coming director, Against All Odds received generally negative reviews and did poorly at the box office when released in March of 1984.
Jeff Bridges, one of the greatest actors in Hollywood history, is a professional football player for the fictional team the L.A Raiders, who at age 35, is well past his prime. In debt and kicked off his team, Bridges is forced to take work from a small time crime lord (James Woods) in tracking down his mistress (Rachel Ward).
Rachel Ward had the previous year given a power performance as Meghan “Meggie” Clearly in the high rated miniseries The Thorn Birds starring Richard Chamberlain. Though her performance in this film wasn’t quite as great she and Jeff Bridges had wonderful chemistry together.
Terry Brogan (Jeff Bridges) tracks Jessie (Rachel Ward) to a small island where they begin a steamy love affair. Terry is very much in love with Jessie but even though Jessie loves him in return she is also using him to get back at Jake Wise (James Woods) and her controlling mother (Jane Greer), who owns the football team that Terry once played on. Because of the wonderful chemistry between Bridges and Ward, the first half of the film works better then the second half.
After killing Terry’s friend Hank Sully (Alex Karras), who Jake has hired to bring them back, Jessie leaves to the safety of Jake, who she believes will shield her from a murder charge. Once upon returning to the states, Terry finds himself wrapped up in a web of murder and conspiracy that began long before the murder of Sully and involves not only Jake but Jessie’s wealthy family.
The movie doesn’t always work as a mystery because the plot is never really clear and we later learn of connections between characters like Jake and Jessie’s crooked stepfather Ben Claxton (Richard Widmark), who we a never shown a connection between at any point earlier In the film. It’s the quality of the acting that keeps the viewer interested.
Jessie kills Jake in order to protect Terry and her stepfather used his influence to protect her with one condition…she has to break off all contact with Terry. The most moving scene In the film is at the end when Terry sees Jessie from across a crowd and we see a tear rolling down her face as the picture freezes and Phil Collins’s “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” plays over the credits, the image of the crying Jessie on the left side of the screen. Both Jessie and Terry know that their ever being together is “against all odds but a chance (they’ve) got to take.”
Against All Odds is based on a 1950’s film called Out of the Past with Jane Greer playing Ward’s part and Kirk Douglas playing Bridges’ part. The film coast $ 13, 000, 000 to make and grossed a modest $25, 000, 000 when released in early 1984.
Despite this film’s flaws I love it and watch it regularly. What I like most about Against All Odds is the great chemistry between Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward as well as James Woods’s wonderfully over the top performance as Jake. Also, Phil Collins’s title song is one of the greatest pop songs ever recorded. In just a little over three minutes, Collins is able to convey the passion of the relationship between Terry and Jessie and in the end how they will give anything to be together again.
Phil Collins – Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
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