The Fourth War | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Fourth War 

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John Frankenheimer still hasn't regained his stride since his black-and-whlite films of the 60s, but he's settled down into being a pretty good director of thrillers, and this is one of his best for some time--comparable to the kind of lean, purposeful work he used to do for such 50s TV shows as Studio One and Playhouse 90. On the border between West Germany and Czechoslovakia in November 1988, American and Soviet border control commanders Roy Scheider and Jurgen Prochnow, embittered veterans of Vietnam and Afghanistan, get embroiled in a petty personal war of their own. That's about all that the plot--adapted by Stephen Peters and Kenneth Ross from Peters's novel--consists of, but Frankenheimer handles it tersely and professionally, and coaxes an exceptionally good performance out of Harry Dean Stanton as an American general. Gerry Fisher handled the cinematography, and Tim Reid and Lara Harris also costar. (Commons, Oakbrook Center, Golf Glen, McClurg Court, Plaza, Norridge, Ford City, Harlem-Cermak)

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