Rush presents hard evidence for its claim that there is no seedier or soul-crushing job than that of an undercover narcotics officer. Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh give career-best performances as Jim Raynor and Kristen Cates, two small town Texas “narcs” assigned to the seemingly insurmountable task of taking down Will Gaines (Gregg Allman), a man who could be described as one of the most powerful drug lords in the Lone Star State — if they could prove it. As the two partners (and lovers) go deeper undercover, they find that they can’t ever come home from work as they become dangerously addicted to drugs themselves — and start to play the very dangerous game of planting evidence in order to catch their prey. Rush might not pack as powerful a punch as it did back in 1991, but it’s still a terrific acting showcase for the two leads, who completely immerse themselves in their roles and the murky, despairing world they inhabit; Max Perlich is also excellent as Walker, the dealer who becomes their informant, and William Sadler makes quite the impression in his one scene as a creepy “cooker” (is that really the same guy who played the Grim Reaper earlier that year in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey?). Director Lili Fini Zanuck, wife of fellow film producer Richard Zanuck, does an excellent job with creating an unrelentingly grim atmosphere and distorting the sense of space/time as we experience the story through the twisted half-dream state of the characters; this was her first and — rather unfortunately — last feature film directing credit.
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