Desperate Measures

on January 30, 1998 by Lisa Osborne
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San Francisco police officer Frank Connor (Andy Garcia) faces the greatest challenge of his life: he must find a bone marrow donor for his son, Matt (Joseph Cross), before he dies of leukemia. His prayers are answered in the form of Peter McCabe (Michael Keaton) who turns out to be an exact DNA match for the boy. The downside? McCabe is a very bright, homicidal sociopath who is currently serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison. Needless to say, McCabe manages to turn his `good deed' into a bold escape attempt. And as McCabe's bone marrow would be useless to Matt if he died, Connor must preserve his life at all costs.
   Keaton gives a chilling performance as the charismatic but cold hearted killer. Marcia Gay Harden gives a realistic portrayal as Matt's doctor who will do anything to protect her patient. And Garcia is surprisingly convincing as the father who will risk his own life and that of his friends to save his son.
   "Desperate Measures'" script is intelligently written: key characters are painted in fine detail and their relationships are delicately interwoven. There are just enough chase scenes and sudden changes in tempo to keep one perched on the edge of one's seat. And just when the plot seems to have reached its climax, it twists round again. It even examines a philosophical question: "What's the value of a human life?" in such a way that one actually considers the issue. Starring Michael Keaton, Andy Garcia, Marcia Gay Harden, Brian Cox and Joseph Cross. Directed by Barbet Schroeder. Written by David Klass. Produced by Schroeder, Susan Hoffman, Gary Foster and Lee Rich. A TriStar release. Thriller. Rated R for violence and language. Running time: 100 min.
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