Watch Now: AT CLOSE RANGE
After debuting as a director with his 1984 romantic drama Reckless, filmmaker James Foley made his second feature a far more sinister one. Loosely based on the notorious Pennsylvania gang led by Bruce Alfred Johnston Sr. that ceased to wreak havoc in 1978, At Close Range (1986) focuses on young outcast Brad Whitewood Jr. who desperately wants to reconnect with his estranged gang leader of a father and intends to do so by becoming a criminal himself. Starring the ever-amazing Sean Penn as Brad Jr. and the phenomenal Christopher Walken in the role of his unscrupulous father, At Close Range is a multi-layered, violence-ridden story with a tragic core.
Nicholas Kazan’s poignant writing examines several aspects of human nature, one being our potential for depravity and moral corruption and the other our deepest need for parental love and affection, even when none can be found. Another significant feature of Foley’s film is its soundtrack that includes several hits from the 1970s, such as “Boogie OogieOogie” by A Taste of Honey and “Miss You” by The Rolling Stones. Featured on the soundtrack is also Madonna’s song “Live to Tell”, often referred to as the best ballad of her career, which she co-wrote, co-produced and sang.