253) Cutter's Way (1981) Dir: Ivan Passer Date Released: March 20, 1981 Date Seen: August 8, 2012 Rating: 4.25/5
Somehow, I almost forgot to jot down a note about this film. Which is probably a good indication of how frazzled I've been of late. Cutter's Way really bowled me over when I most needed a good, pulpy distraction. I can't say that the last week or more have been good for me. In fact, I realize now that I have spent way too much time apologizing fearfully for the way I feel.
And the truth of the matter is: my cat died. When I say that, you already know what you think. I could tell you she was 18, going on 19 years old, that I cared for her deeply and that I held her as she leaked pus all over me and mewled quietly while we waited for a doctor to tell us there was nothing we could do (though not in so many words). But honestly, the bottom line is: my cat died. And that still hurts. She was my friend and I couldn't do jack to help her when she needed me to. She died alone in the basement in a cardboard box full of comic books, having cried for help all night. And I've cried about that for a couple of nights since then.
Seeing my own helpless-ness transplanted into a totally different context and treated like foolish romanticism in Cutter's Way was exactly what I needed the night after my cat died. The film's tone fit my mood perfectly, specifically the way that the film understood that Jeff Bridges's indecision (more specifically, his aggressive certainty that nothing can be done to affect significant change in a stranger's life) was just a matter of fact. The film's ending evinces a hard-edged cynicism that comes from a very real, human place. Bridges watches his friend die and all he can do is look up at the killer and say, "You did this." And the murderer replies, "What if I did?" Gut-punch.