Albino Alligator is one of those unassuming and slow-burning thrillers that capture your attention almost immediately. This is a hostage situation movie directed by none other than Kevin Spacey. With a little help from almighty Sidney Lumet, who advised Spacey on how to make “the best possible movie”. Of course, Lumet is the man standing behind one of the best movies of the genre, Dog Day Afternoon, so his input was invaluable. It does feel more like a play than a movie at times but there’s nothing wrong with that.
Albino Alligator follows a group of criminals who find themselves trapped in a bar after a botched robbery. Movies set in bars or diners rarely disappoint. Feast and Pawn are two great examples. You already know what to expect from a movie like that. Diverse characters, vibrant atmosphere and the overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia. The tension is omnipresent and despite the simplicity of the story, it does offer some pretty surprising twists. And I really liked the ending. This was the nineties and Reservoir Dogs came out just a couple of years prior to this one.
Running from the police, three small-time criminals stumble upon a discrete bar in New Orleans. They decide to hole up there for the night and make a break for it in the morning. So, they take the bar patrons as hostages and try to remain as relaxed as they can. However, that will be pretty hard to do as one of them is bleeding to death. And the hostages are getting a bit restless too.
As in any other hostage situation movie, there’s a lot of suspense and intense moments. The cast of Albino Alligator is simply perfect and I’m sure you’re going to recognize almost all of them. William Fichtner and Viggo Mortensen were especially good. However, the entire cast made this movie much more engaging and made us look past some of its flaws. They relegated it to the mildly amusing category but this is still a movie worth watching. After all, I still remember it after watching it only a couple of times and that means something.
I guess it means I’m a sucker for these types of settings but I’m almost certain you’re going to enjoy it as well. The whole nihilistic vibe in that bar is all too familiar. And a little bit too on the nose. You know that you can’t make my evening worse it’s already a living hell thing. With a running time of just ninety minutes, you simply can’t go wrong with this one, so give it a go. Finally, I just have to mention The Immortals a much more creative and yet also easily digestible crime thriller.
Director: Kevin Spacey
Writer: Christian Forte
Cast: Matt Dillon, Faye Dunaway, Gary Sinise, William Fichtner, Viggo Mortensen, M. Emmet Walsh, Joe Mantegna
Fun Stuff: Kevin Spacey tried to keep the violence happening off screen while focusing on the performances.