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Palmetto

4.0 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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(Aug 05, 1998)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

No Description Available.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: R
Release Date: 4-AUG-1998
Media Type: DVD

Amazon.com

With a foreigner's revitalizing influence, German director Volker Schlondorff turns this standard potboiler (based on the novel Just Another Sucker by British pulp writer James Hadley Chase) into a beguiling exercise in genre classicism. Woody Harrelson stars as a former journalist, just released from serving two years on a trumped-up charge, who is drawn into a troublesome mock-extortion scheme by the scheming wife (Elisabeth Shue) of a dying Florida millionaire. The movie's got style to spare and plenty of humid Florida atmosphere, but it's built on a series of improbable developments and is too low-key to generate riveting momentum. But Schlondorff occupies this tawdry territory with a keen sense of necessary mood and pace, maintaining adequate internal logic and awareness of the story's vintage roots. Subplots involving Shue's stepdaughter (Chloë Sevigny) and Harrelson's girlfriend (Gina Gershon) provide enjoyable distractions from the story's implausibilities. The movie's better suited to the fertile pulp mills of cable TV. But with an absurdly twisting plot to hold your interest, it's fun to watch how Schlondorff builds a bridge between traditional film noir and a more contemporary approach to sultry intrigue. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • 3 Theatrical Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Woody Harrelson, Elisabeth Shue, Gina Gershon, Rolf Hoppe, Michael Rapaport
  • Directors: Volker Schlöndorff
  • Writers: E. Max Frye, James Hadley Chase
  • Producers: Al Corley, Bart Rosenblatt, Eugene Musso, Matthias Wendlandt, Nick G. Miller
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 1998
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780622782
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,964 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Palmetto" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I own this masterful thriller and absolutely covet it. Probably my all time favorite thriller/film noir. A perfect example of steamy, teasing, dark femme fatale film noir classic. Excellent script, direction and acting. Some people who say the film is "too over-the-top" are missing the point and don't realize it's that way on purpose. That's the whole film noir/femme fatale genre, folks. Roll with it. Get caught up in the fake kidnapping scheme and the surprise twists and it's a roller coaster ride! I love it and will always love it. One question: WHEN is the Special Edition gonna come out, with Director's and Actors' Commentary, Behind-The-Scenes (I BEG YOU) and many other features? A film this great deserves a Special Edition DVD. People at Castle Rock: PLEASE issue another DVD version.
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Format: DVD
This is one of the most fun movies I have ever seen. It has everything I need. Heat, murder, comedy, and there is an element of fantasy that makes me want to see this movie when I want to escape. Buy It!!!
Make more movies like this one Hollywood. And make more in Florida. It's just better that California.
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Format: DVD
Much has been said about how German director, Volker Schlondorff with the able assistance of American screenwriter E. Max Frye, infused this rather conventional plot with some wonderful, completely original elements. My personal favorites are:

1) Woody Harrelson portrays (quite well) a "normal", fallible person, Harry Barber (even his name is conflicted and clever), in a completely abnormal (but admittedly self-inflicted) situation. He is often clumsy in his attempts to be cool....he cannot resist seductive women or easy money....and he ends up a comic loser (again and again), rather than emerging as the traditional stoic, humorless hero/victim. Harry can't resist Elizabeth's charms (or tongue) even while suspended over a vat of acid, seconds from a hideous death, while his girlfriend (played by Gina Gershon) is nearby and watching!!! Indeed, he is an anti-hero with whom virtually anyone in the audience can relate....his antics are human, believable, and at times hilarious.

2) Elizabeth Shue, in addition to being one of the sexiest, nastiest women on God's earth, is also a superb comic actress, in the Carole Lombard tradition. Her flights of fancy, wierd expressions, and overall daffiness are a great change of pace. Compare her to Kathleen Turner in "Body Heat" and see who portrays a more interesting character....Kathleen is cold and infallible, while you never know what to expect next from Elizabeth. Watch her expressions and behavior closely in the last scene in which she appears....what is she thinking??? I personally find this complexity much more entertaining...and plausible. And let's face it, anyone involved in a sinister plot such as this would have to be at least half insane.

I strongly recommend this movie to all mature viewers who appreciate a change of pace from the traditional "film noir"....it is extremely original, fiendishly clever, funny as heck, and thoroughly entertaining.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Palmetto presents a very interesting and complex plot line, one which is difficult to figure out until the very end. Woody Harrelson plays a likeable, although slightly defective, character who gets caught up in a ransom plot which, on its surface, seems simple enough, but turns dark and deadly with Harrelson's character caught up in events which he cannot control. It is compelling viewing.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Still not sure if this is supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek send up of film noir, or if they were actually taking themselves seriously. Three stars for the hot women, an appealing performance (mostly) from Woody Harrelson, some comedic scenes, and for shooting it somewhere other than California. Points deducted for not tying all the loose ends together, and leaving a bunch of plot elements unexplained. Points also deducted for some inconsistent performances, including Elisabeth Shue (who I usually love) but who sometimes over played her part and left me wondering what she was aiming for. Films like this -- with a bunch of seemingly confusing and contradictory elements -- really owe it to the audience to finally explain everything and make it all work in the end. You can then appreciate the cleverness of the story. Unfortunately, Palmetto fails to do this, which leaves you resenting the film makers for wasting your time and taking the easy way out. Still, it was funny at times, and entertaining at others, and -- did I mention the hot women?
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Format: VHS Tape
In my opinion if your gonna buy a DVD you want it to stand the test of time. And after numerous viewings, this film just gets better. There are so many suttle dashes of greatness that this movie made me a fan of Woody, Chloe, and director Volker Schlondorff forever. This film envelopes you and you get so involved that you swear your in the Humid, Tropical, Sexyness that is Palmetto.
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Format: DVD
I won't go into the plot for this review because it looks like everyone else has beaten me to it.

Anyway, let's begin: What this movie has is hot women. There's Elisabeth Shue and Gina Gershon. The former I like for her healthy rear and the latter I like for her sexy fish lips. Also, they both know how to manipulate men in that special way.

Second, Harrelson plays a convincing role as an I-don't-care-about-the-world ex-con. He's your typical stoic tough guy who knows what he wants and will do what he needs to get it. Well, within reason. He still maintains whatever moral center he has left that prison life or the city of Palmetto didn't take away from him. He's one cool dude.

Third, you'll see a number of scenes where Palmetto bugs are crawling here and there. Give me a break here! A fancy name for roaches! Palmetto bugs are "roaches." That's it. A different kind I'm sure than your average NYC variety but essentially the same.

The Palmetto bugs in the movie symbolize something, but you got me as to what that might be. It was late when I saw it and today, as I'm writing this review, I just don't feel up to snuff to kickstart my brain for an analysis. I'll leave that up to you, my fellow readers.

Third, what this movie has is murder, deception, sex, cheating, lying--all the necessary ingredients to a great film noir flick.

Lastly, buy or rent this movie. Either way, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy yourself. However, see the movie at night when the sky is black. After all, it is a film noir.
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