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The premise has potential but the delivery mainly squashes it
Six year old Steven Walker is in the bank with his father near closing time he is in a playful mood and slips into the vault unseen just as it is shut. The problem is that for security reasons the vault is on a time lock and has been set to remain closed until after the weekend. With no more than half a day's air in the vault the race is on to try and get the boy out. The local vault expert is out of town for the weekend but, with no guarantee that he can be found in time, the parents are frantic to get him out.
The plot was more than enough to hook me into it because it sounded like one of those setups that will be tight and tense, set in a single location and, given the race against time, effortlessly engaging. Although there were no guarantees for this, I was surprised by just how flat the whole thing was and how much it failed to grip me. In terms of actions and narrative flow things are fine; the story follows a solid path that makes sense and isn't contrived or forced for the sake of falsely producing tension. However it is the delivery where it takes this and does nothing of interest with it. The main problem is with the script; where it is shouting urgently then things are fine but it regularly has horridly flat scenes of dialogue while the cutting etc is going on and none of them really work. Of course it doesn't help that the performances mostly put me in mind of my last time I was in a forest. Thomas does manage to produce some tension when the action is the focus but he totally undercuts this by his flaccid inability to bring out this tension in his characters and his actors after all, if they don't seem bothered by the whole thing, why should I the viewer be?
As another review has stated the worst performance is mercifully the shortest that of the boy Winter. Christ but he could not be less convincing, natural or sympathetic. It is rare for me to be shocked by the ineptitude of a performance but Winter achieved that with very few lines. I know he was a child but are you telling me he was the best child available to the casting director? Of the rest of the cast only Beatty stands out and that is mostly because his dialogue consists of being in charge and tough. Conversely all those blessed with flat lines give bland performances; the list is long but includes Patterson, Mannering, McDowall, Ayres and so on. Connery is only memorable for who he is rather than anything else.
Overall a semi-engaging film that sadly has more weakness than strength. The simple premise should have allowed for great tension but the script and delivery let this fall down badly. Deserves a low-budget but intense remake perhaps not of the detail but certainly using a similar premise.
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