When you think you're at the top of the corporate ladder and then discover they have managed to pull that ladder away, sometimes you have to take it upon yourself to 'level' the playing ...
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A war veteran tries to investigate the murder of his son who was working as a Russian translator for the British intelligence service during the Cold War. He meets a web of deception and paranoia that seems impenetrable...
Haskell (Michael Caine) is assigned a job by his boss, the aristocratic Landon-Higgins (James Fox), to highjack a high security van in broad daylight while it's in the shadow run (out of ... See full summary »
When you think you're at the top of the corporate ladder and then discover they have managed to pull that ladder away, sometimes you have to take it upon yourself to 'level' the playing field, both professionally and personally. Michael Caine delivers an electrifying performance as Graham Marshall, who quickly catches onto the possibilities as he clears all the hurdles to occupy the corner office.Written by
Who says Michael Caine is a so-so actor? He plays the perfect combination of a truly nice guy ground down by his shrewish wife, his slimy peer-then-boss, and corporate life, in general. Movies like this give us corporate slaves a little relief from the utter amoral depravity of the 'civilized' world we inhabit in these rabbit warrens, otherwise known as 'Cubical Hell'.
This man makes you completely sympathize with every one of his murders, all nicely planned to look like accidents. In fact, I am amazed that some lawyer hasn't pulled the 'Shock to the System' defense. Certainly, it has as much attraction for the frustrated as the films usually blamed. It's just more subtle, more high-brow and takes a little more finesse.
The detective is wonderfully nosy, but how he can walk up to Caine in the middle of New York City is quite amazing to me. A little too much dramatic license, too much coincidence to be believable but you tend to forget your logical approach to life.
Reality is easily suspended as Caine gets in his licks for all the humuliations we nice people have suffered in the corporate world, where the rapacious are rewarded by CEO salaries. The laughs are fast and furious, all delivered in that great understated British fashion.
Mr. Downtrodden gets his licks in and when the new boss talks about his Cessna, you've already fixed the engine. There are traces of 'The Ruling Class' in here, as Mr. Nice Guy becomes king of the mountain by firing everyone 'who is not a contributor', thus ingratiating himself with Mr. Cessna. McGovern gives her Basset hound, soulful looks all through the film, and you feel her conflict about turning this wonderful guy in. She is promoted out and away, and all is well, which is usual for corporate shenanigans. They just usually don't involve murder.
Buy it and love it. Forget the professional reviewers for once on this. It's not meant to be 'Hamlet'.
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