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Absence of the Good

8 customer reviews

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(Feb 08, 2000)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After his son is shot to death at school, Detective Caleb Barnes (Stephen Baldwin) loses touch withhis soul. When a series of seemingly unrelated murders plagues Salt Lake City, the detective hides his grief in search of the killer. Hampered by a lack of clues, an imploding home life and his commander's unrelenting pressure, Caleb painstakingly unravels a tangled web, exposing a malignant familyhistory of abuse and murder.

Stephen Baldwin plays a detective riding the edge of burnout. His 6-year-old son was accidentally killed a few months ago, and the young Salt Lake City homicide cop is on the verge of becoming a basket case. A string of murders occur on his watch, all with the same m.o., and the pattern begins to look like that of a serial killer. As the detectives track down clues, a web of family neglect, abuse, and revenge begins to reveal itself. Director John Flynn also helmed two great '70s crime movies: the explosive Rolling Thunder (scripted by Paul Schrader) and the sorely underrated The Outfit. Flynn's directorial hand in Absence of the Good shows similarities to the other films; they all deal with emotionally damaged protagonists, and Flynn uses the deadpan tone of their performances to build tension. Like William Devane's character in Rolling Thunder, Baldwin's Caleb Barnes is much more than a grieving, emotionally numb wreck; he's a time bomb waiting for a chance to go off. The script has a painful, personal honesty in the scenes in which Barnes and his wife try to cope with the pain of losing their only child, and what it has done to them as a couple. Flynn also has an eye for taking rural scenarios and making them into white-trash American Gothics, infused with dread and blighted with derelict cars, trash heaps, and dilapidated trailers. Rising far above its made-for-cable origins, Absence of the Good is a first-rate police procedural/crime drama with well-fleshed-out characters and enough unpredictable twists and turns to keep you guessing.--Jerry Renshaw

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tyne Daly, Stephen Baldwin, Allen Garfield
  • Directors: John Flynn
  • Producers: Oliver G. Hess, Kevin M. Kallberg, Brad Krevoy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2000
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003GPFX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,624 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Absence of the Good" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bill Powers on February 13, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Absence of the Good is definitely a thriller. If you like movies that keep you on the edge of your seat. While keeping you in suspense then you will love this one! The plot was wonderfully done, and you will never guess who the killer is and will leave you saying WOW!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K-Man on December 18, 2003
Format: DVD
Absence of the Good is an above average movie in the serial killer genre that has a fairly clever script, good acting, and a strong lead (Stephen Baldwin).
The story centers around Detective Caleb Barnes (Stephen Baldwin) and his struggle to find a serial killer while trying to deal with the untimely death of his son. As the body count begins to climb Barnes finds himself trying to help his wife heal while remaining focused on the case. What follows is a well executed police drama with plenty of action and suspense throughout.
I wasn't sure if this movie was going to be any good when I rented it. I decided to take a chance and was pleasantly surprised. It kept me guessing and had a twist ending that a couch detective like myself had fun solving. I recommend this film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 26, 2004
Format: DVD
Stephen Baldwin redeems himself for his lackluster performance in MR. MURDER in this tense, and involving crime thriller. Baldwin plays a cop who has recently lost his son in a tragic accident; his wife (Shawn Huff) is having extreme difficulty in dealing with her guilt and loss. Baldwin plays it stoic, but he too is harboring the pain. When returning to his work, he and his partner (Rob Knepper) are called in on a case involving the hammering deaths of several people, all seemingly not connected. Baldwin, however, believes the culprit is a grown up who wants to revisit his childhood but going to all the places he or she lived. It's a tense, complex plot and well acted. Tyne Daly does her usual good turn as a psychiatrist, and the identity of the culprit is surprising.
Well done and very engrossing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patricia H. Parker on March 16, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am always surprised at the number of films, starring excellent, well known actors, which get released and quickly disappear from theatres, probably due to lack of marketing. This is one of those films. I am a mystery\spy maven and have read and watched innumerable films of these genres. This is one of the best.

The actors are excellent. Stephen Baldwin is, as always, quietly wonderful. Elizabeth Barondes as the old friend who is caught between the depressed, lost Baldwin and their mutual childhood friend in a love triangle is also good. By the way, the actor who plays the gangster friend is great too (I don't know his name) but he should have a very successful career. He has one of those signature looks and manner which makes movie history.

This film is definitely a keeper. Do try to catch up with it either on DVD or tv. After watching it several times on tv, I finally bought my own copy.
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