The excitement [of Down by Law] comes from the realization that we are seeing a true film maker at work, using film to create a narrative that couldn’t exist on the stage or the printed page of a novel. The excitement (of Down by Law) comes from the realization that we are seeing a true film maker at work, using film to create a narrative that couldn’t exist on the stage or the printed page of a novel.
— Vincent Canby, New York Times