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A thief (Duke Anderson) just released from ten years in jail, takes up with his old girlfriend (Ingrid) in her posh apartment. He makes plans to rob the entire building. What he doesn't know is that his every move is recorded on audio and video tape, although he is not the subject of any surveillance. Written by
Zeke M. Towson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The late 60's and early 70's saw a spate of heist movies ("The Heist", "The Hot Rock", "How To Steal A Diamond") but this didn't strike me as being one of the best of them, despite Sidney Lumet directing and a toupee-less Sean Connery starring.
The gimmick to the story, as is made abundantly clear from the outset, is that released felon Connery's every move and utterance is being taped, not only by the authorities but also by the jealous sugar daddy of his call-girl lover Dyan Cannon, in the end thwarting his big-idea plan to clean out every flat in a luxury complex of their occupants' rich pickings.
The improbability of the story is its biggest stumbling block. Despite having mob connections you don't comprehend just why Connery merits such official attention which added to the coincidence of Cannon's surveillance too, stretches credulity way too far. In other ways a determinedly adult-oriented film, especially the scenes between Connery and Cannon in bed and the casual violence of the heist itself, it wants to be gritty and grown- up, at the same time attempting to be modern and clever with various showy directorial techniques (assorted flashbacks, stop-start sequencing), but in the end it all fails to gel and underachieves, with too many inconsequential scenes and thinly-drawn characterisations at its heart. The robbery itself attempts to impose some forced and unwelcome humour by highlighting the individual quirks of the intended victims which include a disabled computer whizz-kid, an ancient but feisty old woman and a warring couple but this just comes across as distasteful and glosses over the real horror and violation I'm sure any ordinary citizen would feel at the situation they endure.
The acting is mixed, Connery seemingly miscast as the "Limey" (he'd hate that) leader of the motley crew he gathers around him for the job, amongst whom only Martin Balsam as a way-too-far over-the-top homosexual and a young Christopher Walken as a savvy new-kid-on-the-block, shine. Dyan Cannon is wasted in an underwritten role and is mainly required, it seems, to be something for Connery to nuzzle up to.
No, not the greatest of caper films and not the strongest item in the careers of Messrs Lumet and Connery. I'm a keen student of early 70's contemporary thrillers and had high hopes for this movie, but like Connery's character's plans, it just never got off the ground.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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