Engaging mystery thriller evokes a fine sense of paranoia
DEAD MAN'S KIT is a neat little two-part mystery originally shown at part of the ARMCHAIR THRILLER TV series. It has a fantastic opening in which a seemingly innocent case of mistaken identity quickly spirals out of control, leading to murder and the uncovering of a sinister conspiracy. The film's lead is played by Cockney actor Larry Lamb, a familiar face on British TV, and he's pretty decent even though this is his first leading role.
The production is unashamedly low budget and slightly crude in the way loud and suspenseful music suddenly plays out over the events on screen, but I liked it. It has a good sense of time and place and even a few exciting thriller moments, like when Lamb is chased by a couple of sailors and forced to climb out of his bedroom window. The film's supporting cast is an engaging one, with Cherie Lunghi shining as a helpful ally and THUNDERBALL's Philip Locke an eccentric delight as a naval commander. The best thing about DEAD MAN'S KIT is the sense of mystery and paranoia which is almost overwhelming at times, and it keeps that mystery going until very nearly towards the end, when it all finally makes sense.
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