GIVE ‘EM HELL MALONE isn’t particularly original but boasts an incredibly violent blood-spurting beginning as well as a few memorable characters that make up for its unwarranted modern look and overwrought dialogue. It’s well worth watching on a lazy Saturday afternoon.
But what makes GIVE ‘EM HELL MALONE interesting is its anti-anti-hero dénouement. As any genre aficionado would attest, we love our hard-drinking, amoral gumshoes that have a head full of demons that spill out in wanton homicide over the course of 90 minutes. The interesting thing about MALONE is that the ending proves no reason for any of it. Malone (Thomas Jane) is a victim of his heroes and the culture he fetishizes. It’s something anyone who’s overly passionate about film, music and comics can attest too.
Whether our heroes are Peckinpah, Westerberg or Rip Torn, there are some of us who look for an excuse to mix our talent with questionable living. Most of the time, it doesn’t end well or maybe we keep pushing the envelope for fear of losing our edge or what we consider our own unique voice. When I think of quitting smoking, I’m scared. I always think of an interview with Leonard Cohen when he worried that he would lose his singing voice if he quit smoking which wasn’t the case. In MALONE, Thomas Jane plays a man so lost in his heroes he ruins his life to be more in line with the film-noir, pulp paperback characters he idolizes. The lie is more important. Just like Peckinpah, just like gangster rap, just like live-fast die-young, rock and roll lifestyle.
Cocaine is a hell of drug, but in GIVE ‘EM HELL, so are the caricatures of hardboiled movie detectives. Malone's lost his humanity to the lie of