This at first comes across like a mean-spirited black comedy and then snowballs into a reasonably powerful portrait of social alienation. The tone is unremittingly dour, however.
Seeking to journey ‘home’ to Venice from downtown Los Angeles, Michael Douglas abandons his car in bumper-to-bumper morning traffic and sets off on foot, venting his anger and frustration at all those he encounters.
A laid-off defense worker, estranged from his wife and child, with a borderline propensity for violence, he is a self-obsessed human powderkeg heading to a home no longer his while on the verge of going off.
The film provides Douglas with a real performer’s showcase, and he delivers a strong, intense portrayal of a walking time bomb. Robert Duvall, as well, is at his congenial best as a henpecked burglary cop in his last day on the job.
The most notable supporting players are Rachel Ticotin as Duvall’s former partner and Tuesday Weld in a remarkably unflattering turn as his skittish wife. Barbara Hershey is largely wasted as the protagonist’s ex.