Owen Gleiberman
September 28, 1990 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Narrow Margin

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
97 minutes
performer
Anne Archer, Gene Hackman, James B. Sikking, J.T. Walsh, M. Emmet Walsh
director
Peter Hyams
distributor
TriStar Pictures
author
Peter Hyams
genre
ActionAdventure, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C

You have to have quite a few tricks up your sleeve to set a movie almost entirely aboard a speeding train. Hitchcock certainly did when he made The Lady Vanishes. But Narrow Margin, despite a sturdy turn by Gene Hackman as a cynical assistant DA, is a thinly scripted procession of train-movie clichés. At least director Peter Hyams knows where to put the camera. Near the end, he gets Hackman and Anne Archer atop the vehicle for a breakneck, comin’-’round-the-mountain face-off with the thugs who’ve been chasing them. The cutting between the actors and stunt doubles is so seamless — or is it really Hackman and Archer up there? — that the most suspenseful thing in the movie is figuring out how the heck Hyams did it. C

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