The Horror Honeys: I Don't Belong Here in Heaven...

I Don't Belong Here in Heaven...

A Revenge Honey Retro Review by Linnie

Rush (1991)

Like most kids growing up in the 80s and 90s, I had the pleasure of enjoying MTV and VH1 when they actually played music videos. All day, and due to insomnia, often all night, I would do nothing but watch whatever videos were in rotation at the time. In 1991, one of the most inescapable songs on the radio and the music TV was Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven." Written in reaction to the death of his young son, "Tears" was devastating enough on its own. But the track was chosen as the lead single from the soundtrack for a film called Rush, and the music video was filled with clips from the movie.

Now, in 1991, I was eight years old, and my parents did have SOME limits. Rush was a film about two undercover narcotics officers who become swept up in the world they are investigating, and after mom and dad saw it in theaters, it was determined a no-go for your young Revenge Honey. Instead, I would watch the clips in the "Tears from Heaven" video over and over again, filled with emotional turmoil over the movie I imagined Rush to be. I'm embarrassed to say, it took me until just this week to finally sit down and watch it.

And eight-year-old me is happy to report that Lili Fini Zanuck's film was everything I had built it up to be...

The Story: Texas, 1975. Jim Raynor (Jason Patric) is a seasoned undercover narcotics officer who chooses rookie cop Kristen Cates (Jennifer Jason Leigh) as his partner on a major operation. The duo is meant to infiltrate the drug scene in a small town, seemingly spearheaded by a shady strip club/dive bar owner named Gaines (Gregg Allman, of all people). But it isn't long before Jim and Kristen fall in love: with each other, and with the drugs they are supposed to be getting off the market. How can they clean up the streets when they can't even stay clean themselves?

Everything about Rush hinges on the performances given by Jason Leigh and Patric, and they are equally flawless and gut-wrenching. It is clear from the outset that Jim has had problems with drugs in the past, and deep undercover is the last place he should be. Alternatively, Kristen is so new to the scene, she has to keep proving herself by using product in front of dealers, and the addiction comes fast and brutally. Patric and Jason Leigh both so adequately personify the need, the desperate desire of addiction, that you can't help but feel their agony. I am utterly blown away that more attention wasn't given to this film via acting awards.

Just as brutal as Jim and Kristen's addiction to drugs is their addiction to each other, and the metaphor runs both ways with impunity in Rush. The characters are thrust into a world of constant danger and suspicion with only each other to rely on, and thus it seems inevitable that they would fall for one other, just as it is inevitable that they would find themselves lost in the rabbit hole of addiction. Cocaine, heroine, all-consuming love... They can scramble your brain and leave you a broken shell, which is exactly how Jim and Kristen find themselves at differing points in the film.

As a political artifact, Rush is equally as intriguing. Set during the outset of the so-called "war on drugs," through Jim and Kristen we get a first-hand look of the true cost and casualties of war with no real end-game. Undercover officers become addicts, or die, small-time dealers get exorbitant prison sentences or end up murdered as snitches, while major offenders skirt on technicalities and intimidation. The world of Rush in 1975 when it is set, or 1991 when it was released, is still very much the world we live in today. For this reason, it stands as an important film well worth viewing.

Historically, creatively, and emotionally, this is a film that almost demands to be seen. If you've ever looked in the mirror and not recognized your own reflection, if you've ever been in love with an addict, Rush will crash through you like a 18-wheeler. Tempered direction and heart-breaking performances from Patric and Jason Leigh render Rush a truly remarkable piece of "the horror of reality" cinema.

I'm also really glad my parents didn't let me see it was I was eight.

Revenge Honey Rating: 4 1/2 Ugly Cries out of 5

Rush is available via Netflix StreamingAmazon Instant Video, & DVD
Rush will be released on blu-ray on July 14, 2015

Did Rush make you ugly cry?
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