At Close Range

Director: James Foley
Year Released: 1986
Rating: 1.0

Dark criminal behavior set in rural Pennsylvania (but shot in Tennessee) during the late 1970's: aimless Brad Jr. (Sean Penn), who's in a committed relationship with Terry (Mary Stuart Masterson), wants to get closer to his father Brad Sr. (Christopher Walken) ... but Pop runs a gang and is incredibly paranoid about everything.  Although it's based on the real-life exploits of Bruce Johnston Sr. and his crew (who mostly stole things), the characters are painfully underwritten and the movie is lackadaisical in parts - it's trying hard to be this moody noir, but it just feels like the principal actors staring through each other.  And then, to wake everyone up for the third act, Walken (who can be as menacing as anyone) goes completely insane, raping Terry and murdering as many people as he can, including his own family, which is where it truly strains plausibility - even Don Corleone was protective of his boys.  That said, the last stand-off in the kitchen - with Jr. finally confronting Sr. - is a superb scene and the back story is fascinating: Walken was (and probably still is) obsessed with gun safety, and Penn used that knowledge to his advantage.