Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
Dieter Geissler tries to make it big with industrial espionage
A short excerpt of "48 Stunden bis Acapulco" suggested that this film was a European, more specifically German, film noir with a certain style. This turns out to be true. The story's doublecrosses combine with the music, the cinematography, and a laconic kind of script to make this a definite film noir of its period.
As in a good many noirs, the hero is out for a big score. This time it's through industrial espionage. That McGuffin is secondary to the potential for doublecrosses and mishaps. The protagonist is dealing with two women and two possible ways to turn the documents into cash. Pitfalls await him. He negotiates them coolly, but the next one may mean the most extreme danger or death.
The film comes alive in the scenes with movement and outdoors, especially when involving moving automobiles, airplanes at terminals, passing scenery, and night pursuits. The music is eclectic but has been chosen to highlight the tension and restlessness of the crime game. At times the trumpet and theme could be from a spaghetti western. Then there is Cher singing "Sunny", and then an urgent guitar.
Thugs appear out of nowhere. We are not quite sure whose thugs they are. Some are from the thief's own past. Others are from a potential buyer.
This is stylish 60s euro-noir. It's not at all done in the coherent measured style of story-telling of the 40s and 50s. There is more fluidity, jumpiness, ambiguity and open possibility. We are more off-balance as we watch. We go for more of a ride, just as the "hero" does.
There is something about the euro-noir style of this film. Is it its cheapness or is it its trashiness? Is it the difference in sound recording? Is it the jumpy editing? Is it the reduction in verbal exposition? Is it that the hero is not heroic? A film like this is just the ticket every so often.
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