Released in 1987, The Hidden makes no apologies for being what it is: a gritty genre flick out for a joy ride, replete with action set pieces and over-the-top violence (nine out of ten fans will use the word â€œflamethrowerâ€ when asked to offer a brief description of the pictureâ€™s content). We arenâ€™t ten minutes in when the first big chase starts, complete with a car hurtling into a sheet of plate glass and the two men who are carrying it across the street. The high octane action of The Hidden is also anchored by that time-honored movie stand-by: a pair of mismatched buddy cops, reluctant partners who bond en route to saving the day. So what makes it special â€“ more memorable than the dozens of other films in the same vein that loaded up video store selves in the 1980s, shiny guns and bright orange explosions splashed across cardboard sleeves on rows of VHS tapes? Part of the appeal of The Hidden is that it embodies these familiar genre tropes with great energy and humor, clipping along at a good brisk pace and topping everything off with a nifty sci-fi twist. Michael Nouri plays Tom Beck, an L.A. cop and family man investigating a string of crime sprees in the city. A young Kyle MacLachlan, fresh from his descent into the suburban hell of David Lynchâ€™s Blue Velvet and a few years away from his defining role as Special Agent Dale Cooper on Lynchâ€™s TV oddity Twin Peaks, also stars as one of our heroes. Like Cooper, MacLachlanâ€™s character here carries an FBI badge, but in this case itâ€™s only a cover â€“ his Agent Gallagher is actually a benign alien whoâ€™s hunting down the murderous body-switching extraterrestrial creature that killed his family. Beck and Gallagherâ€™s uneasy partnership is the heart of the film and punctuated by great bits of winking humor (When Beckâ€™s wife asks Gallagher where heâ€™s from, he simply points upwards. â€œWhatâ€™s that?â€ she asks, â€œNorth?â€), but the body-switching villain that gives the film its title is well worth examining as well.
Tag: Kyle MacLachlan
Written by Andy Dimond
US, 1986. Rated R. 120 min. Cast: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell; Music: Angelo Badalamenti, Chris Isaak, Roy Orbison; Cinematographer: Frederick Elmes; Produced by: Fred Caruso, Richard Roth; Written and directed by David Lynch.
One word appears with remarkable consistency alongside the name David Lynch. â€œWeird.â€ Granted, his subject matter and narrative style do often fall willfully outside the Hollywood norm, but that should not be allowed to overshadow his natural brilliance as a Hollywood craftsman. His first feature, Eraserhead – which does still strike me as an overdone slice of student-film surrealism – nevertheless rode to glory on Lynchâ€™s uncanny instinct for the feel and flow of film imagery.