Peter O'Toole, (pictured) the director-hero in the backstage-moviemaking epic "The Stunt Man," describes paranoia as a "social disease" in the sense of syphilis -- it, too, spreads through intimate social contact. Richard Rush, the producer, director and co-writer, spent most of a decade finding the money and developing the techniques he needed to make this unique entertainment -- a magnificent, super-charged, philosophic adventure-comedy. "The Stunt Man" begins when a fugitive named Cameron (Steve Railsback) accidentally causes the death of a stunt man on location, and the director (O'Toole as Eli Cross) talks him into taking the stunt man's place. The through-the-looking-glass world of movie-making is a great escape for Cameron (read it: Camera-on) -- until he suspects that the director would kill him, or anyone, if it would help his film. Rush uses Cameron's paranoia to explore the act of seeing: he has said that Cameron views his life "as if he were peeking through a keyhole and getting a very partial look at the truth. Like all the rest of us, he makes up his version of the truth as he goes along. He invents enemies to test his strength, and gods to protect him from the enemies." Rush's kinetic shooting and editing style make the audience experience the uncertainty of the contemporary world in a visceral, often hilarious way.
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