The Plot Against Harry (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Plot Against Harry (1989)




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Movie Info

Martin Priest stars as a bassett-faced gangster who spends twenty years behind bars. At last paroled, Priest tries to pick up where he left off, both professionally and with his family. Instead he finds his associates scattered, his business in the hands of punks, and his family virtually nonexistent. Originally written and directed by Michael Roemer in 1969, The Plot Against Harry was itself "held prisoner" for 20 years until it finally made the art-house rounds in 1989. After this is acquired a distributor and an out-of-proportion reputation as a "lost masterpiece." The film is an enjoyable and incisive encapsulation of the late 1960s, but it's not quite as brilliant as everyone seemed to believe it was.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Roemer
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 26, 2005
New Video


Martin Priest
as Harry Plotnick
Stephen Cheng
as Jimmy Hong
Christopher Cross
as Telethon MC
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Plot Against Harry

Critic Reviews for The Plot Against Harry

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (8)

Bares unhealed and unspoken wounds of New York Jewish life.

Full Review… | October 6, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 14, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 14, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 14, 2005
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Plot Against Harry

A slice of life film along the lines of movies like "Shadows", "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie", and "Killer of Sheep". The story is fairly loosely structured, though with a more clear beginning, middle, and end then the aforementioned movies. It really hinges on the performance of Martin Priest as Harry, a Sad Sack of a second-tier Jewish mobster, who slowly and mostly accidentally ingratiates himself back into the life of his estranged family. It's really Priest's performance that makes this so enjoyable. His hang-dog "Why me?" expression makes you root for him even though he is a bit of a heel. It's also another great example of the great independent filmmaking of the '60's and '70's that Harry's moment of clarity is a subtle one; in a modern movie, it would probably be accompanied by a swelling score and over-the-top waterworks to make it beyond obvious that we're seeing Harry's redemption, but thankfully here the filmmakers trust the audience to make that discovery on their own. A quick, satisfying watch.

J Dean

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