Film Review: Continental Divide

By | Exclusives, Featured, Reviews

Continental Divide was the first Amblin Entertainment film released in theaters when it opened on this date in 1981. The film starred John Belushi, Blair Brown and was directed by Michael Apted. 



Continental Divide is a romantic comedy that centers on a Chicago newspaper man, played by John Belushi, who gets himself in trouble with his journalism when he tries to expose corruption in his city. He ultimately leaves to the Rockies to interview an eagle researcher (played by Blair Brown) andto escape the threats that face him in the Windy City. The two have little in common, but ultimately fall in love, in spite of their numerous differences.

The film was directed by Michael Apted, and was written by Lawrence Kasdan. 



The Positives:

  • The Chicago and Colorado locations allow the film to feel and look authentic. 

  • The film has some moments where the cinematography shines. 

  • The performances of Belushi and Brown are strong. 



The Negatives: 

  • The script, by Lawrence Kasdan, is surprisingly flat. The direction, by Michael Apted, is also rather ordinary and uninspired. 

  • While the performances of both Belushi and Brown are strong, their chemistry is weak. It’s hard to believe in their love story. 

  • John Belushi is giving a performance that is quite different from his roles in The Blues Brothers and Animal House, and even though he is likable as the straight man, it’s hard to not miss the wild man he was known for in his more popular films. 

  • The film leaves you with very little to remember.



In Closing:

The most memorable aspects of Continental Divide have very little to do with the movie itself and more to do with who, and what, was involved. Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark & multiple films from the Star Wars sagawould go on to do much better work, and much of the writing voice he would eventually be known for is absent in Continental Divide. This would also be one of the last films John Belushi would appear in before his tragic death in 1982. 


Film Grade: D+