Risky Business Review


Words by James Rednall

As with a lot of 1980s ‘teen’  films, ‘Risky Business’, the film that launched Tom Cruises’ career, has many depths and layers that we can all relate to in some sense. Set in the North Shore area of suburban Chicago in 1983, Tom Cruise plays Joel Goodson, a high school student who at seventeen years old, is in the stage of applying to university.

However, after his wealthy parents go on a trip to visit relatives, leaving Joel home alone, his friends convince him to enjoy his freedom, let go and have fun. Joel embraces this and after listening to his friends, he embarks upon activities which include skidding into his living room dancing to “Old Time Rock And Roll” and racing his dad’s Porsche around the town. Joel then contacts Lana, a stunning call-girl, plated by Rebecca De Mornay. This decision outlines the rest of the film and creates a series of complications that put his future in jeopardy.

It is how Joel tackles the problems that he runs into that viewers can really understand and relate to, as they watch how he grows up dramatically after only a few days of his parents being away. Joel’s relationship with Lana develops into an unexpected connection as she also has problems of her own which involve her employer and turns to Joel for help.

It is perhaps not a performance that sticks out as one of Tom Cruises’ best,  but it is funny, enjoyable and entertaining, whilst also being enhanced by Rebecca De Mornay’s  Lana which adds the depth to Cruises’ Joel.

Although starting of as a more comedic and light hearted film, ‘Risky Business’ soon turns quite serious, whilst at the same time keeping to the 80s, feel good atmosphere. The mood of the film is enhanced by the electric music group Tangerine Dream, who created a score that fits perfectly within the 80s ambience and of Joel’s high school life.

We have all been at the age when we make decisions that not necessarily determine the rest of our lives, but will alter or change the course we embark upon. It is in this relation that makes Risky Business, underrated and unique, but whilst also slotting into the 80s teen genre, alongside ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’.


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