If you can’t teach an old dog new tricks then what do you do with an ex-con with a serious case of sticky fingers and a lack of job skills? Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman with a supporting role from his magnificent moustache) is a seasoned thief recently released from a stint in prison. He attempts to establish himself only to be met with obstacles like the lack of a resume and a corrupt parole officer who is determined to make his transition that much harder.
When he meets Jenny (a very young Theresa Russell) he sees a reason to be a good guy for once; But old habits die hard. Soon he’s planning his next holdup which may prove to be his last.
Dustin Hoffman’s performance elevate this film to greatness. He makes you empathize with his loneliness and ultimate ignorance and then frustrates you with his stubbornness in a way that is so humanizing. Interestingly enough Hoffman was originally slated to direct himself but quit after a few days of intense multi-tasking to hire Ulu Grosbard as the film’s director. also features excellent supporting roles from Harry Dean Stanton, Theresa Russell, Katy Bates and Gary Busey as a loopy tweaker getaway driver. The film shows you how complicated what is right and what is wrong can be and in the end your left guessing weather Max is gonna become an upstanding member of society or fade back into his criminal loner ways.