John Flynn has directed some good, tough, pacy thrillers and Best Seller
, along with the 1973 The Outfit
, can claim to be the best of them. It kicks off with not one but two slam-bang action sequences and then, having grabbed our attention, pitches us straight into its twisty plot premise. Brian Dennehy, reliably watchable as ever, plays an ageing cop-turned-novelist who has hit a writer's block since his wife died. James Woods at his most suavely sinister is a hitman with dirt to dish on the head of a big corporation. Woods proposes a Faustian pact. He provides Dennehy with the full crooked story on the mobster-turned-corporate boss and the cop writes it up. Dennehy gets a best seller; Woods gets his revenge and comes out looking like a hero.
The dialogue, courtesy of screenwriter and horror-movie director Larry Cohen (It's Alive; Q--The Winged Serpent), is satisfyingly hard-boiled and slips in plenty of subversive sideswipes at rampant capitalism. ("It's the American Way, Dennis," says Woods, detailing how he helped his boss rise via robbery and murder. "I'm a businessman, an executive.") This certainly isn't the only movie to get mileage out of the symbiotic relationship between cop and crook (see Michael Mann's Heat), but it works several neat variations on the theme, with Dennehy and Woods both at the top of their respective forms. If the film never quite lives up to its potential--the required final confrontation between the two principals doesn't materialise and Victoria Tennant is thrown away as Dennehy's love-interest--it remains a way better than average thriller with its roots deep in the best B-movie traditions.
On the DVD: Best Seller on disc has no extras apart from the theatrical trailer. The transfer is good and clean, and preserves the original's full-width framing. --Philip Kemp
audio in italiano.complicato intreccio nel rapporto tra un poliziotto aspirante scrittore di libri gialli e un killer professionista che col lavoro commissionatogli da un vip vuole offrirgli lo spunto per un romanzo. gioco pericoloso. da un abile regista inglese un thriller molto violento che affronta un tema classico da un punto di vista psicologico. ottimi i protagonisti. scritto da larry cohen.