Review: ‘Best Seller’

Best Seller combines the sinister appeal of James Woods at his cold-blooded best with the gruffly lovable persona of Brian Dennehy as a literary cop; on the level of detective thriller, it's a real page-turner.

Best Seller combines the sinister appeal of James Woods at his cold-blooded best with the gruffly lovable persona of Brian Dennehy as a literary cop; on the level of detective thriller, it’s a real page-turner.

Dennehy is Dennis Meechum, a cop who writes a book based on a famous unsolved case, during which he was wounded and three other policemen were killed. Seventeen years after the incident, he is a lonely burn-out case who lives at home with his meek teenage daughter (Allison Balson), trying to crank out another book.

Into the picture comes mystery man Woods, full of unctuous charm and foreboding stares. He presents himself as Cleve, a former hit man who worked for a pillar of LA society who, Cleve claims, ordered murders on everyone from business associates to tax auditors.

The body of the film has Cleve bringing Meechum around the country, providing different details in his story in an attempt to prove its authenticity, while Meechum takes it all down in a book.

Director John Flynn keeps things moving through action scenes but is at his best during the psychological cat-and-mouse games in which the two leads find out about one another. While the conclusion is pat, pic is ultimately carried by two lead performances.

Best Seller

Production

Hemdale. Director John Flynn; Producer Carter De Haven; Screenplay Larry Cohen; Camera Fred Murphy; Editor David Rosenbloom; Music Jay Ferguson; Art Director Gene Rudolf

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

James Woods Brian Dennehy Victoria Tennant Allison Balson Paul Shenar George Coe
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