Most important perhaps, in a performance of Pinter on film, are the performances, and I must declare them to be excellent and overlooked. Robert Shaw, an actor I always enjoy ("A Man for all Seasons" and "From Russia With Love" making up a decidedly contrasting threesome of Shaw films I've seen...), is proficient as Webber, the absurd "mystery man" laying low in a seaside boarding house. Most impressive to my mind though, are Dandy Nichols, Patrick Magee and Sydney Tafler. Nichols certainly plays the darkly hilarious role of the unknowing, deluded Meg to a veritable tee. Magee and Tafler define the roles of Goldberg and McCann, the sinister, well-versed double-act, to such an extent that I'll definitely think of them in the roles from now on, when I think of the play. Magee is a foreboding, but often unwittingly droll presence in the film, timing his acting brilliantly. His Irish tones contrast finely with Goldberg's sophisticated Jewish-London accent. Tafler is an absolute marvel in this role, walking away with the film in many ways, embellishing another elusive, odd Pinter character, the most erudite in the play. He fills the screen amply and times the dialogue perfectly; a stunning performance, by a somehow obscure actor. The chap who played Petey Boles is also good, in a small but certainly necessary part.
Of course, one unfamiliar with Pinter may be bemused by the oddball plot, struggle to come up with instant meanings and then describe it as weird and incoherent, as if those were bad things... Of course, it isn't truly incoherent; there are meanings and interpretations to be made if one pays close attention to the dialogue. And it is the dialogue, that, as ever with Pinter, dazzles. Suffice to say, I am not truly in a position to analyze and describe why his dialogue is so brilliant in a mere film review such as this is, but trust me, his dialogue is remarkable; making the banal seem rich and sinister, and the rich seem banal and ritualistic (in Goldberg's case). A worthy effort really, this film, I'd say, as it captures so much of the Pinter brilliance.