The MacKintosh Man Reviews
John Huston's thriller is slow moving and almost blithe in its action, acting, and direction. it is almost as though all involved - audience and filmmakers - know what is going to happen, so there is little commitment in the execution. What is more, Paul Newman's "British" accent is so inconsistent that it sounds dubbed in some parts and like Paul Newman in others. There's no real plot-based need for him to be British, but like I said, it doesn't seem like much thought was put in to the story and acting.
Overall, this isn't a terrible film, but it certainly doesn't radically engage.
There's a particularly good scene that, I suppose, the Coen brothers must have seen and liked because they remade it for "No Country For Old Men". I'm referring to a scene in which Newman is being chased by a vicious dog over land. He eventually crosses a creek and then grabs a pistol by its barrel and clubs the dog and drowns it to death. The similar scene in the recent Coens' film is equally as tense.
Definitely recommend this movie for fans of spy realism -- Le Carre-- as opposed to spy fantasy -- Fleming.
The one fault of this movie is that it is really obvious halfway through. (Or I'm just crazy smart.) But the reverse of that statement is that it is really puzzling for the first half. I didn't know what the hell was going on for a little bit. I thought that the movie was fun and kind of reminded me of the newer Ocean's Eleven only with spies. John Huston does a good job keeping the action really contained. I'd put this kind of spy movie closer to Jason Bourne than James Bond, but set it in the seventies and forget that the other Bourne Identity exists. (That's right, kids...if you didn't know, The Bourne Identity is a remake!)
Now, because I'm a polite kid who cares about whether or not other people could sleep, I play the movie rather quietly. Rarely do I run into problems. Trust me, you don't need the movie blaring all the time. It's just fun when you can. But Dominique Sanda's REALLY heavy accent made her dialogue lost and I had to be slightly more rude than normal just to get her part out of the story. I'm not saying don't cast her, but I kind of am. I had the same problems with the Pirates of the Carribean sequels, so I guess I can b*tch about it in a movie that I actually enjoyed.
Yes, there are plotholes that you can drive a truck through, but those "oh sh*t" moments cover up for those. Well, with the exception of one. It seemed like the writers drove themselves into a corner and had just a really graitifying ending, but an ending that lacked substance. But I will say this. If I ever go to prison...make sure it's in Britain. Everyone seemed really nice and polite in that prison. Not at all like Oz or Prison Break.