There are films that you love unconditionally and irrationally, ones so bound up in your own personal circumstances and psyche that it is impossible to truly convey to others why this is so – it simply is. Then there are those you are convinced are fine, even great works but which, to your dismay and incredulity, you frequently find yourself having to defend vigorously, using some of your best reasoned and most persuasive arguments as even those you believed to be in perfect sync with your tastes just don’t seem to ‘get it’. To my great surprise I have found that as often as not, the 1988 thriller Running on Empty, starring River Phoenix and directed by the late Sidney Lumet, is indeed one of those films. Why?
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