A kidnapped boy strikes up a friendship with his captor: an escaped convict on the run from the law, headed by an honorable U.S. Marshal.
Release Year: 1993
Rating: 7.3/10 (31,712 voted)
Stars: Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Laura Dern
After escaping from a Huntsville prison, convict Butch Haynes and his partner Terry Pugh kidnap a young boy, Philip Perry, and flee across Texas. As they travel together, Butch and Philip discover common bonds and suffer the abuses of the outside "Perfect World." In pursuit is Texas Ranger "Red" Garnett and criminologist Sally Gerber.
Robert 'Butch' Haynes
Chief Red Garnett
Phillip 'Buzz' Perry
Taylor Suzanna McBride
Release Date: 24 November 1993
Filming Locations: Austin, Texas, USA
Opening Weekend: $8,075,582
(24 November 1993)
Did You Know?
This was Clint Eastwood's first film since
Two Mules for Sister Sara for which he did not receive top billing, which went instead to Kevin Costner.
When Butch is blocked by the police car in the alley he puts the car in reverse and rams the squad car without any damage to his own. In fact, throughout the whole ordeal with the two squad cars he manages to keep the car from being damaged at all.
Robert 'Butch' Haynes:
Damn, Buzz, shot twice in the same day !
Undervalued a decade ago, this film is better than Eastwood's other heralded directorial efforts.
Do not confuse any of the archived reviews by national critics labeling
this movie as "mediocre" and merely "watchable" as accurate statements.
This movie is one of Eastwood's most interesting and controlled efforts
behind the camera. There is less blatant scenery chewing in "A Perfect
World" than contained in Eastwood's unduly praised "Mystic River." And
although "Unforgiven" brought Eastwood an Oscar, "A Perfect World" is
much more effective in its employment of Eastwood's usual methodical
pacing and his ability create empathy for men who are "bad, but not the
worst" of society.
For those that are not Costner-philes, this is one of the few movies
that viewers should be unable to find ways to deride Costner as an
actor. Costner's performance as Butch is by far the best of his career.
Actually, it would be better to note that his performance is nomination
worthy (er… was) simply for the fact that I know many people view
Costner as a flat actor that is not really on par with other actors of
his generation. The scenes between Costner and his young costar are
extremely interesting. Butch is given almost all the dialogue because
eight-year-old Phillip is more or less a pupil of Butch's (or surrogate
son if one thinks of the blatant implications); thus, this movie almost
entirely belongs to Costner and the development of his character and he
does a pitch perfect job.
The movie itself has some simplicities in its other characters, such as
Eastwood's Ranger, Dern's criminologist, and the gaggle of law
enforcement personal tracking Costner's character. John Lee Hancock's
script is not the strongest when focusing in on their additions to the
narrative. Plus there are some overly simplistic social commentaries on
the role of the penal system, but those are far outweighed by the mass
of the film. And Eastwood works around the few weaknesses of the script
much better than he did in Hancock's adaptation of "Midnight in the
Garden of Good and Evil."
Considering that Eastwood is a competent director who has created
mostly middling works or has been praised for efforts that are far
exceeded by the scripts themselves, such as "Unforgiven" and "Mystic
River," "A Perfect World" is quite a good film. Also of note is the
cinematography and framing of all the shots. Almost all of Eastwood's
films, regardless of the shot and lighting conventions of the genres in
which he has worked, are terribly sloppy and poor in their
presentation. Jack N. Green has been his longtime cinematographer of
choice; therefore, it is not as if a new voice was thrown into the mix
adding to the success of this film visually in comparison with
Eastwood's other works. Nonetheless, Eastwood succeeds in much of his
direction in this film and
Costner's performance makes this film a nice little gem that was
undervalued a decade ago.