Perennial cinematic psycho William Forsythe is boringly miscast as a nice guy who gets embroiled in a thoroughly stupid and illogical murder plot in THE PASS, a plodding straight-to-video "thriller" devoid of thrills or suspense.
Charles Duprey (William Forsythe) is having a mid-life crisis. His job as a comic strip salesman for a syndication agency is going nowhere and his wife Shirley (Nancy Allen) is leaving him after 12 years. Duprey's friend Willie (Michael McKean) convinces him to drive to Reno to help him get over
the breakup. Along a treacherous highway, Duprey is forced to swerve to avoid a stalled car. The driver, a man called Hunter (James Le Gros), asks Duprey for a ride and Duprey agrees, but after Hunter tells him that he once killed his girlfriend, Duprey ditches him. However, Duprey is forced to
turn around after a storm causes a landslide, and he checks into a roadside motel. Hunter arrives at the motel and kills the manager (Richard Fleming) and a barmaid (Elizabeth Pena), then goes after Duprey and reveals that he has been hired by Shirley and Willie to kill him for his insurance
policy. Duprey escapes during a struggle and is pursued by Hunter into the woods, but eventually manages to kill Hunter by throwing gasoline on him and setting him on fire, after which, he puts his ID in Hunter's pocket and goes to Reno. Back home, Shirley and Willie wait for the insurance check
to arrive and receive a package which explodes when they open it.
Aside from being talky, uneventful, and glacially paced, THE PASS is so convoluted and implausible that it defies coherent description. Starting with the absurdity of a character who's a comic strip salesman (?!), we are asked to believe that instead of simply hiring someone to bump off Duprey at
home, Willie and Shirley plotted to have him drive to Reno (knowing which road he'd travel) and pick up a stranded driver, who, instead of just killing him, first tells him that he's a killer in order to make him suspicious. Then, Duprey goes to a gas station restroom, but instead of using his
cell phone to call the cops, he amazingly agrees to take Hunter to the next town before abandoning him. The film takes some laughable stabs at philosophy that only come off as pretentious (Hunter is reading a book called "Existentialism Made Easy" and engages in endless discussions about the
meaning of life before killing people), and it's also ponderously mannered, with much use of pointless and irritating jumpcuts and extreme close-ups of inanimate objects meant to convey some sort of deep meaning. Forsythe, who's always a memorable heavy, is all wrong here, wearing wire-rimmed
glasses and employing a barely audible monotone voice, while his so-called transformation where he "switches" identities with Hunter after killing him and becomes a swinging gambler with a sexy babe on his arm is ridiculously contrived. (Graphic violence, profanity, sexual situations, substanceabuse.)
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: NR
- Review: Perennial cinematic psycho William Forsythe is boringly miscast as a nice guy who gets embroiled in a thoroughly stupid and illogical murder plot in THE PASS, a plodding straight-to-video "thriller" devoid of thrills or suspense. Charles Duprey (William F… (more)