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Film / The Osterman Weekend

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A 1983 American suspense thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah that has a CIA agent (John Hurt) on the run from the CIA after the killing of his wife (Merete Van Kamp) and fights to survive.

The movie also stars Rutger Hauer, Craig T. Nelson, Dennis Hopper, Chris Sarandon, Meg Foster, Helen Shaver, Cassie Yates, Sandy Mc Peak, and Burt Lancaster.

A documentary based on the movie, The Alpha To Omega Exposing The Osterman Weekend, was made in 2004.

It was released on November 4, 1983.

Tropes for the film:

  • Chekhov's Skill: Bernard Osterman is shown practising martial arts; he kills a CIA man who confronts him with a gun, then easily disarms Tanner when he attacks him with a baseball bat.
  • Complexity Addiction: CIA Agent Lawerence Fassett (Hurt) finds that his own organization is behind the murder of his wife, so his plan of revenge involves: create a phony Soviet spy network called Omega, faking evidence that will convince a TV producer, John Tanner, known to be critical of the CIA that his friends are members of Omega, wiring up his home with video equipment to gather evidence for this non-existent conspiracy, staging an attempted kidnapping of the producer's wife and son so they'll be brought to the house for their protection, Mind Screwing everyone so they start to turn on each other, trying to kill the producer (whom he needs for his Evil Plan) and murdering his friends, kidnapping his wife and son for real so he can force the producer to confront the head of the CIA in a live interview about the murder of his wife. Why he never just went to Tanner with his accusations, or just kidnapped his wife and son from the outset, is unexplained.
  • The Film of the Book: Is based on the book of the same name by Robert Ludlum.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Tanner's friends are involved in something shady, but it involves tax evasion rather than treason.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: TV journalist John Tanner is remotely interviewing Fassett, the man who's holding his family hostage. It turns out all his questions are prerecorded, so he can track the video feed to the kidnapper's location.
  • The Television Talks Back: A Coincidental Broadcast (actually a video feed) on the illicit use of Swiss bank accounts appears on television as part of the Mind Screw tactics being used against an alleged ring of traitors. At one point Fassett uses the video feed to speak directly to Tanner, then pretends he's reading a boring news report when someone walks in on their conversation. Later on when Fassett turns out to be the villain of the piece, he uses the television to taunt Tanner and Ostermann by broadcasting live video of their friends' deaths.