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This is definitely one of my favourite films of all time, I own a poor quality copy on VHS taken from the TV, and have lost count of the number of times I've watched it.
The film overall is not exceptional, the story concerns the events that take place during one evening whilst a squad of men guard a gun park on a military base. The story was originally a play by John McGrath and this shows in the films very wordy script and and static locations. Not all films from plays work well on screen but some can be very powerful (12 Angry Men and Streamers to name but two) and this is case here.
The tensions between the main characters, Lance Corporal Terry Evans (David Warner) and Gunner O'Rourke ( Nicol Williamson) are brilliantly worked through in the script and the performances from the two main actors are masterly. At every step David Warner's character misreads and misjudges his reponses to the malevolent force of nature as portayed by Nicol Williamson.
To me this is the best thing about this film. Williamson's performance is stunning, his portrayal as a man at the end of his tether, with nothing left to lose, who seems to have come through some sort of existentialist crisis to arrive at a point where death is the only option left to him, is one of the best screen performances ever.
He really makes you believe that this man is truely desperate and dangerous, something that is very hard to pull off on screen. Witness the long line of psycho bads guys that fill action movies these days. How many of these are really convincing?
Track this movie down and watch a truely remarkable performance from a great actor.
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