Director Ulu Grosbard
Year 1978
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Theresa Russell, Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton, M. Emmet Walsh, Kathy Bates
Run Time 114min
More Info IMDb

Screening in 35mm as part of the series NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE: CRIME IN THE SEVENTIES.

Emerging from Folsom State Prison after six years, Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman) returns to Los Angeles. He tries to get a job and keep on the straight-and-narrow but as a man who's spent his entire adult life in prison, Max has no coping tools or skills and his sadistic parole officer (M. Emmet Walsh) is bent on sending him back to prison. Falling in with old friends (Gary Busey and Harry Dean Stanton) and a new girlfriend (Theresa Russell), he struggles to stay straight while being inexorably drawn back into a life of crime.

Adapted by real life con Eddie Bunker (Mr. Blue in RESERVOIR DOGS) from his own novel No Beast So Fierce, which he wrote while in prison, STRAIGHT TIME has the unmistakable ring of authenticity. Director Ulu Grosbard presents a criminal underworld that is alternately frightening, amusing and tragic, but always unglamorous and honest. The claustrophobia is palpable as Max slowly realizes he's used up all his fresh starts and can't escape his own downward spiral.

Hoffman, in one of his grittiest and best performances, makes Max Dembo an unforgettable character. Hoffman is all swagger and sharp stares. Dembo is at odds with the world: a lost, damaged outsider, rejected by a society that has no room for him. In STRAIGHT TIME we see Dembo embracing the awful responsibility of freedom and saying fuck it.

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