Kehr Capsule of the Week: Winter Kills (1979)

Winter Kills (1979)

Very fine Strangelovian fantasy that sank without a trace in 1979. Jeff Bridges, the scion of a very Kennedy-ish clan, sets out to investigate the assassination of his president brother, but becomes entangled in a web of darkly comic paranoia, spun by an endless parade of iconographically aggressive guest stars—John Huston, Anthony Perkins, Eli Wallach, Sterling Hayden, Dorothy Malone, Ralph Meeker, Richard Boone, Toshiro Mifune, Elizabeth Taylor. William Richert‘s visual style balances flamboyant comic-book colors and intelligent wide-screen framing, a strategy of restrained excess that keeps the picture continually on edge. The film is funny, but it’s frightening and vertiginous, too—a complex tone that apparently left audiences baffled.

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