Think of this as a guide through each of Christopher Walken's films, starting with his first and moving forward. Each review will provide analysis, factoids and opinion on the ninety-plus films in his career.
Genre: Crime Thriller / Black Comedy
Walken in Short: He is known as ‘The Man With the Plan’ or simply ‘The Head’. He is a sinister crimeboss, made more deranged by the frustration of his quadriplegic disability.
Film in a Sentence: Jimmy The Saint (Andy Garcia) is an ex-hood in Colorado that wants to put his life of crime behind him, but his old psychotic boss ‘The Head’ (Walken) makes him do one last job, which of course goes bad for Jimmy, bad for his motley crew of misfits that he calls his friends, and bad for his stunning new love-interest Dagney (Gabrielle Anwar).
Director: Gary Fleder – This was his debut. He’s gone on to make other films, none with Walken, mostly crime-films, over the next 20 years. Most recently the Jason Statham actioner ‘HOMEFRONT’, with a methed-out James Franco.
Writer: Scott Rosenberg (also wrote the unfortunate ‘Kangaroo Jack’ (2003) in which Walken also played the crime-boss)
Duration: one hour and 55 minutes
MPAA Rating: ‘R’ – There is no nudity, but the language is peppered with f-words, c-words, n-words, and a fair amount of gay slurs. Also, it is very violent. Bloody and visceral, even when people aren’t getting shot up the butt, literally: up it. Which is called a “buckwheat” by the way. It happens so often it has a name. Eww.
Actors Other Than Walken: Andy Garcia, William Forsythe, Treat Williams, Fairuza Balk, Christopher Lloyd, Gabrielle Anwar, Steve Buscemi
Available to Own: This is DVD only, although I believe there is a Japanese import available on Blu-ray right now.
Similar Walken Films: Fortunately Walken has been in quite a few crime films. Instead of listing them, just go to my Walken Crime-boss page. Any of those films would work. Also, I have to mention PULP FICTION because when THINGS came out critics sneered and said ‘oh it’s just another Pulp Fiction clone’. Now, obviously there are comparisons that can be made, but don’t ignore it because of that! THINGS has its own vibe, its own story to tell.
Walken Content: I’ll say 30% – We get several scenes with Walken throughout the whole film. Short scenes, but the writing is sharp and the acting is fantastic. ‘The Head’ only ever deals with Jimmy the Saint and he is never out in public, with the exception of a sun-dappled sentimental flashback to simpler times.
Walken Quote: This is from the scene right after things start going bad for Jimmy the Saint. ‘The Man With the Plan’ is doling out punishment for the rest of Jimmy’s crew, but for Jimmy he says:
“We go back me and you. You lent the operation a modicum of class, in the days. That’s why… in the milk of human kindness I’m giving you, an out. You got 48 hours. Put it in the wind. Leave Denver. Go to Rome. Visit the Vatican. Pray to the God you abandoned back in Brooklyn just put it in the f*cking wind Jim, or else, I gotta do you too.”
~ The Man With the Plan
Should You Watch This? Yes. Do it. You will not be disappointed. This is a hidden gem. If you enjoy a good crime-film with sharp dialogue and memorable characters you’ll love this one.
What’s Next? I am really excited that ‘Search & Destroy’ is next. I love this film. Dark, funny, quirky, obscure, and I love it.