Cutter's Way (1981)

Cutter's Way (1981), directed by Ivan Passer.

A group of low-lifes develop a bone-headed plan to blackmail a rich man they think has committed murder. If he pays it's proof of guilt and they can take it to the cops. Not keeping the money, no, of course not. What they don't consider is how easily a powerful and vicious killer might deal with them in return.

We have:

It's a quirky little mystery, more of a character study and actors showcase than a thriller. We don't get around to the blackmail action until the final half hour. Oddly enough it turns out to be about "heroes" and their unlikely origin. The characters are "interesting" but not terribly likeable.

Jack Nitzsche provides an eerie, eclectic score.

The movie was barely promoted, a victim of studio politics. Said the director: "I think United Artists murdered the film. Or at least they tried to murder it."