I vaguely remember watching this as a kid (did my mom just…cover my eyes during the rail car scene?) but I feel like I’m now at the right age to appreciate it. I like that it went quieter when I expected it to turn into an outright chase/action movie. There’s a chase, all right, but it’s just the backdrop to a road trip rom-com that highlights how Karen Allen’s Jenny is slowly processing her grief. She turns down every opportunity to run because deep down she’s not ready to let go, to really say goodbye to this gonzo version of her husband. So when she finally says goodbye she’s letting go of two people, and…well, I will not forgive the 80s for squandering Karen Allen.
Bridges is great as an alien just trying to say “greetings” and being met with violence in return. He’s the classic movie funhouse mirror showing us our possible better selves, and I love the weird physicality he brings to the role.
Charles Martin Smith has one of the more punchable faces in cinema (I most recently saw him in Deep Cover) but he’s surprisingly sympathetic here, the one government person who doesn’t act purely out of fear.
Between Karen Allen in this, Margot Kidder in Superman, and Sean Young in Blade Runner, I think I finally understand the formation of my deep love of brunettes on film.