Clint Eastwood has made a lot of movies. A helluva lot of movies. Everyone knows about the big ones, but there was a time when he made some that have slipped through the cracks and you never hear about them anymore. Tightrope from 1984 is one of those.
It’s a cop neo-noir crime thriller. It is not an action packed shoot ’em up. It’s a departure from the usual Eastwood films of the time. Clint plays a divorced father of two, a single parent, that works as a detective in New Orleans.
The story starts with a young woman on her way home. She is followed by a creepy stalker. A few minutes later a cop offers to walk her home. It turns out the cop is the stalker, a serial killer strangler who murders the woman.
The next day Clint is called to the crime scene to start investigating.
Clint starts by going to the local brothels where the girl worked to gather information about her from her fellow soiled doves. While there a ‘Lady of The Night’ seduces him. Being lonely, he lets it happen and this starts a willingness to use the services of these women of low character… erm… I mean sex work is real work, you bigots!
The killer see’s Clint is on his case from the media and starts tailing him. As Clint trawls more brothels after a second killing, the murderer starts knocking off the “sex workers” that Clint has flings with during the investigation.
Clint starts realizing what is happening when the girls he just bumped uglies with start showing up at room temperature. It becomes a tense investigation as Clint tries to find the killer before he kills again, worries about his own kids safety and tries to keep his proclivities with the street walkers on the down low.
It’s a great crime thriller. The seedy, sin filled streets and night life of N’awlins is a great location for the sex-crime thriller. Clint gives one of his best performances of that era. He isn’t the super tough invincible cop. He’s just a fairly normal lonely guy who misses the wife that abandoned him and his kids and wants a companion. He does find a love interest but I won’t ruin that in this review.
If your tastes in serial killer thrillers runs more to the normie side of things, don’t worry. There is nothing graphic. We don’t get to see the killings take place and there is little to no blood. You do get to see a few great sets of sweater puppies though. It was the 1980s after all.
I love this seedy Eastwood film. Tightrope would be exploitation had anyone else starred in it. Check it out if you’ve never seen it.