peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2022 01 24 WhollStopTheRain

Who'll Stop the Rain (1978)

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A bit of Tuesday Weld completism off the back of a scatty but intriguing book review. Based on Dog Soldiers of the mid-1970s Việt Nam war genre. In brief some blokes come back from Sài Gòn with one buddy thinking it a good idea to get the other to traffic 2kg of horse on his ship to Oakland, which is to say that from the start you know things aren't going to go too well.

It has its moments alongside the thick thread of melancholia running through the middle; the post war prospects amount to escapism in nudie bars that were better when they were just regular bars, and Mexico; also a wife you can't go home to. Perhaps the most shocking is that Nick Nolte was young once. He nails his lines, for instance these that he declaims straight into Weld's face as he finishes up repairing his 1958 Land Rover Series II (still looking great twenty years later):

Ray Hicks: When I left the Marines I made myself a promise. Never again am I going to be fucked around by morons. The next mother who tries to make me back off is going to have to live it out with me.

Yeah, maybe you have to hear it. Also I couldn't shake the vibe that it was a dry run for that fabulous final season of Breaking Bad, especially when we get to the hippy valley down in New Mexico.

Roger Ebert: three stars at the time. He says director Karel Reisz has some form; I've seen This Sporting Life, which he produced, and The Gambler. He's astonished that Nolte can act. I struggled with the vacuity of husband Michael Moriarty, who does have some great lines too. Strangely it seems the New York Times did not review it beyond a few stray favourable comments from Janet Maslin: best movie of 1978?