Ever since he failed to save the life of President John F. Kennedy in the 1963 Dealey Plaza assassination, secret service agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) has had to live with the guilty feeling that maybe things would have been different if he had reacted more quickly. Thirty years after the event, when the U.S. President begins receiving death threats, Horrigan investigates and finds the culprit to be master-of-disguise Mitch Leary (John Malkovich). However, a simple arrest is out of the question, for Leary knows about Horrigan's weakness and is determined to use it against him in a lethal game of cat and mouse.
This smart, tautly directed thriller from Wolfgang Petersen is about the cat-and-mouse games between a Secret Service agent named Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) and the brilliant, psychopathic assassin (John Malkovich) who's itching to get the President in his cross hairs. In the Line of Fire
's back-story--Horrigan is haunted by his inability to prevent John Kennedy's assassination (Eastwood is computer-generated into archival footage)--is more than a little hokey, but the plotting itself is smartly, even ingeniously, constructed. Petersen manages a vice-like grip on the tension and Eastwood even gets to deliver an ever-more-timely lecture on the diminished nature of the office of President. Eastwood's as gruff and as infuriating to the by-the-book Powers That Be as ever and Malkovich oozes delightful menace. Rene Russo capably co-stars as a colleague with whom Horrigan gets friendly. --David Kronke
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.