A British agent's son is kidnapped and held for a ransom of diamonds. The agent finds out that he can't even count on the people he thought were on his side to help him, so he decides to track down the kidnappers himself. —email@example.com
Every now and again you come across a film that's somewhat a letdown, even when those expectations are kept at bay. Don Siegel's mid-70s espionage-thriller 'The Black Windmill' that starred Michael Caine falls in that category. If anything it was that title (which the story is adapted off Clive Egleton's novel "Seven Days to a Killing") which caught my eye. Siegel's adapt, controlled workhorse direction tackles the subdued material with little suspense, but constructing something tight, sullen and dry with the main focus on building something out of its elaborately knotty (but dubious) premise. It's a true pot-boiler entangled with twists. While the material is stimulating (with some good work by the solid support performances and an occasionally witty line) and the sturdy set-pieces are competently crafted, however the pacing is too blotchy and in the end it builds to really nothing. It loses some weight due to the lack of suspense and urgency with a crackerjack climax that's just too quick. Michael Caine's composed performance is strongly delivered, and John Vernon makes for an ideally icy and conniving villain. Donald Pleasance is delightfully squirmy (which his character likes to really fiddle with that moustache) and Janet Suzman provides some fire. Delphine Seyrig and Clive Revill offer able support too. Roy Budd's sizzling, but low-key music score works well and Ousama Rawi lenses it with a great illustrative eye. Siegel's touch is evident in both of those devices. An unexceptional feature, but still its well organised and performed.
- Jun 14, 2008
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