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Taxicab driver Tom Banning is led to an abandoned bomb-site by an eight-year-old girl as an April-fool prank. The girl is later found murdered and Manning is picked up by Scotland Yard for ... See full summary »
Two British agents are murdered by a mysterious Neonazi organization in West Berlin. The British Secret Service sends agent Quiller to investigate. Soon Quiller is confronted with Neonazi chief "Oktober" and involved in a dangerous game where each side tries to find out the enemy's headquarters at any price... Written by
Dirk Bauer <email@example.com>
Average Shot Length = ~7.4 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~7.6. See more »
When Quiller is waiting for the bomb to blow up, in the long shots he is still completely on the side of the garage, but in the medium shots his head is clearly extending around the corner to see the front of the garage. See more »
Not terribly audience-friendly, but smart and very, very cool.
This isn't your average James Bond knockoff spy thriller; the fact that the screenplay is by playwright Harold Pinter is the first clue. It's a bit strange to see such exquisitely Pinter-esque dialogue (the laconic, seemingly innocuous sentences; the profound silences; the syntax that isn't quite how real people actually talk) in a spy movie, but it really works.
Quiller isn't your average spy. He's played by George Segal with a cool superficiality that works very nicely; he doesn't go charging in with guns blazing -- he doesn't even carry a gun -- and the one time he does try to fight his way out of a sticky spot, he gets pounded. The other standouts in the cast are Alec Guinness as Quiller's controller, and Max von Sydow as the leader of the neo-Nazi cell that Quiller is attempting to crack.
At first glance, the movie is deeply frustrating, and the script appears full of holes, but in fact, it's so smart that it assumes the audience is bright enough to pick up on the breadcrumb trail of clues that it's actually leaving. All in all, I recommend it, but with reservations. If you like tidy conclusions and have limited patience with extreme subtlety, this may not be to your taste.
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