Made at the height of its two starring actor’s careers, Best Seller’s script requires no less to sell its storyline. Succeed they do, both James Woods, as Cleve, an upper echelon hit man and Brian Dennehy, an author/cop, Dennis Meechum, Cleve turns to for exposing the powerful man behind hiring him. That the process will expose himself becomes less and less important as the movie develops into a tale both intriguing to watch and amazingly credible. Before it’s over we come to see pursuit of redemption is not wholly religious, amorality is not always without standard and how easy it is to sell murder as accidental when likely suspects are too powerful to indict.
Larry Cohen has created a script full of interesting turns and twists, each impacting back on a well developed action core. Tense moments abound, like when Meechum discovers Cleve had killed one of his policeman friends during an heist where he himself was shot, and during episodes where Cleve blithely administers the coup de grace to most eveyone that gets in their way. In fact, the viewer might get to feel a little guilty by being entertained by it. Or, might even start thinking about new ways of dealing with gang members that practice drive-by shootings. But this reviewer digresses…slightly.
Under the adept direction of John Flynn, both the sinister side of power is displayed in its personifying role of Paul Shenar’s performance as, David Madlock, and the super sensual performance of Victoria Tennant, as Roberta Gillian. Supporting role performances well worth mentioning.
Still it is gems like dialog and the actor’s delivery of it that makes this movie exceptional. Of course Dennehy is noted for such abilities and Woods has an acting style that lends grandly to the complexity associated with Cleve and his systemic darkness. Give either one a good script and they will find the interpretation and make you like it. (Well, yes, this reviewer is not impartial.)
Love scenes but just enough nudity to show off Tennant’s lovely assets. Graphic language and a lot of justified killing (the reviewer’s opinion of course.)