Cutter’s Way (1981)

“I don’t drink. You know, the routine grind drives me to drink. Tragedy, I take straight.” An unappreciated cult film based on Newton Thornburg’s novel, Cutter and Bone, Cutter’s Way was directed by Ivan Passer (a key figure in the Czech New Wave) and stars John Heard, Jeff Bridges and Lisa Eichhorn. Anticipating his character, “The Dude,” in The Big Lebowski (which actually features several parallels to Cutter’s Way), Bridges portrays a total slacker named “Richard Bone,” who may or may not have witnessed a local industrialist, “J. J. Cord” (Stephen Elliott), dumping the body of a young girl into a garbage can on a rainy night. Bone’s friend, “Alex Cutter” (Heard) – a one-eyed, one-armed, one-legged Vietnam veteran with a serious drinking problem – latches onto the idea of Cord’s involvement and embarks on an Ahab-like quest for justice. Eichhorn turns in a phenomenal performance as Cutter’s long-suffering wife, “Mo.” Feeding into post-Watergate paranoia, Cutter’s Way provides the perfect blend of mystery, dark comedy, neo-noir drama and conspiracy thriller. Useless Trivia: Both Tommy Lee Jones and Nick Nolte were reportedly considered for the role of Cutter.

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