SUICIDE KINGS, 1997
Directed by Peter O’Fallon
Starring: Christopher Walken, Denis Leary, Jay Mohr, Henry Thomas, Sean Patrick Flanery
Review by Melissa Mendelson
A group of youngsters kidnap a respected Mafia figure.
REVIEW:The cards are dealt. Aces are high, and Jokers are wild. Play your hand. Check your opponents. The game continues, and you’re on a roll. But moments later, you’re about to take a fall, and you have to make it through the game with only the cards that you hold. And the wheel of fate spins, and where it stops nobody knows. And you play, hoping your bluff isn’t called, but the game has reached its end.
You think you know life, but never doubt its poker face. The best of friends may have the worst intentions, and your worst enemy may turn into your savior. And if you fold all the time, you may become a puppet on a string, but if you bluff too many times, well, a spade will be called a spade. And Life continues to deal out the cards that you now hold in your hand, and nothing is what it seems. So, do you fold once more, or do you bluff, hoping nobody will see through your façade? And will you be ready for the next turn of events?
What are Suicide Kings? Are they men united, tin soldiers ready to fight for what they believe in? Are they pawns in the hands of another, paper dolls walking a thin wire? Do they know the company that they keep, and do they play their game? And if they must sacrifice to save a life, does that make them a Suicide King?
The game begins, and the enemy captured sets the plan into action. The stakes are high, and the dice is rolled. And a web of lies and betrayal hangs overhead, and the tension is digging in deep. And the life to save is the fuel marching those forward into a deadly, intricate plot, and life deals out another hand. And fate waits its turn to play.
In the movie, Suicide Kings, a close knit of friends risks all in a high stakes game to save a life. Drifting across a razor’s edge, they focus on their plan and the players, and their plot begins to unfold. And everything seems to go smoothly, but despite the cards that they hold in their hand, their captive may have a few aces up his own sleeve. And he is ready to raise the bar and push them to their limits, and their bluffs will be called. And when the dust settles, all bets are off.
The story of love is never-ending, and a love like Romeo and Juliet’s echoes deep within this dark tale. Would you risk all to be with the one you love? Would you lay your life on the line to save theirs? Loyalties are put to the test, confrontations fierce, and the bonds of friendship will be played against the games of the heart. But in the end, does love win, or will it destroy?
Suicide Kings is a rich cinematic treasure reflecting movies such as The Game, Usual Suspects, Unknown, and L.A. Confidential. Suspense and drama intensify the storyline, and the intensity continues to rise straight toward an ending that you will never see coming. A blend of talent and charisma from dedicated actors ignites the characters to life. The bonds of friendship are put to the ultimate test, and the act of betrayal is delivered as sharp as razor’s edge. And from the beginning to the end, we are held captive, taking a walk “on the dark side of the moon,” and watching as the cards fall. And Aces are high, Jokers dance, and Suicide Kings are wild.This film won Best Director and Best Cinematography, and was nominated for five other categories. The screenwriter was nominated, and rightly so. Taken from a short story that first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1933 by Maurice Walsh, Green Rushes, Frank Nugent was able to weave a story rich in subtext and conflict.
The collector’s edition of the DVD includes an interview with Maureen O’Hara where she reminisces about filming The Quiet Man, and is well worth watching.