- 1 hr 45 min
Framed is a 1975 crime thriller film directed by Phil Karlson and starring Joe Don Baker, Conny Van Dyke, and Gabriel Dell. The plot follows Ron Lewis (played by Baker), a small-town gas station owner who gets entangled in a scheme orchestrated by a wealthy businessman named Lew Slade (played by John Marley) to launder money through a car racing operation. Slade uses Lewis' love interest Karen (played by Van Dyke) to coerce him into participating. However, when Lewis discovers the truth about Slade's operation, he decides to turn the tables and set up a con of his own. The film is notable for its gritty, realistic portrayal of small-town life in the American South during the 1970s. Baker's performance as the hero is particularly impressive, as he conveys a sense of quiet determination and grit that is rarely seen in Hollywood films of the era. The supporting cast is also strong, with Van Dyke delivering a standout performance as Karen, the femme fatale who helps to set in motion the film's central conflict. Dell, who plays one of Lewis' associates, is also excellent, bringing a sense of humor and levity to the film in the midst of its darker moments. The film's pacing is steady throughout, with director Phil Karlson skillfully balancing the suspenseful action sequences with the slower, more character-driven scenes. Though the film was not a commercial success upon its initial release, it has since gained a cult following among fans of classic crime thrillers. One of the film's strengths is its portrayal of the South as a place where ambition and desperation often collide in dangerous ways. The gas station where Ron works is a hub of activity for the town's working-class population, many of whom are just trying to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Slade's wealthy businessman persona puts him at odds with the poor, working-class people who populate the town. The film's visual style also contributes to its overall mood and atmosphere. The cinematography is stark and moody, with many scenes taking place at night or in dimly lit spaces. This gives the film a sense of foreboding that is in line with its themes of corruption and deceit. Overall, Framed is a well-made, well-acted crime thriller that deserves to be more widely known. Its skilled direction, strong performances, and well-crafted script combine to create a film that is both tense and thoughtful. For fans of classic crime thrillers, it is a must-see.