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a nice 70s gangster movie
In "The Nickel Ride," everybody loves Cooper(Jason Miller).
The street vendor loves him. The bartender at the tavern where he takes free drinks every morning loves him. And of course his beloved wife Sarah(Linda Haynes) loves him.
And then there is a hiccup in his perfect life. Cooper has a great plan to turn a single block into a full and complete distribution center for every criminal enterprise in his area of responsibility. But Elias(Bart Burns), his police contact, is not coming through like he said he would. At least, Carl(John Hillerman) still says he has complete confidence in Cooper.
Set among the seedy underworld of downtown Los Angeles, "The Nickel Ride" is an intriguing and downbeat character study of somebody whose critical fault is that he tries to be everything for everybody, even though in his job he has to do some very unpleasant things. That lasts long enough until the shoe is on the other foot, when he finds out first hand that the worst thing for anybody is not to know where you stand, no matter how much he is reassured. And the movie does a very good job of capturing that feeling of paranoia.
On first viewing I didn't know what to make of it but the more times I see it the better it gets. Character thriller that takes its time but tells its tale well and you can never go wrong with Jason Miller.
Late-noir crime story drips with 70s angst but needs tighter hand at the reins--The Key Man!!
The Nickel Ride is a superb film. It is about a small-time criminal who manages several warehouses in Los Angeles. Jason Miller and Linda Haynes give wonderful performances. The script is well written. Robert Mulligan did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama. The Nickel Ride is a must see.
In a similar vein to other 70s era slowburn crime dramas like The French Connection and The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Nickel Ride follows Jason Miller's "Key Man" the owner and operator of several warehouses containing stolen mob goods. But when dealing with the mob you know that eventually your friends will become enemies; Magnum P.I.'s John Hillerman sets the Cadillac Cowboy Bo Hopkins after Miller and their inevitable collision will not conclude with good news for anyone involved. The Nickel Ride requires your attention, but it also delivers some of the finest bits of close-quarters violence--there's an elevator beatdown that fans of Drive will most certainly enjoy, and there is also a strangling sequence at the end that will have you sickies cheering. Seriously, how did Jason Miller follow up his Academy Award nominated turn in The Exorcist with this and not take over Hollywood. The Man is Badass. VF.
Outstanding Neo-Noir with an intricate script by Eric Roth using Miller's status as a "key man", (holding stolen property for the mob in his LA warehouse block of territory) as a descriptor for his state of being. His nature and carny past are illuminated through dialogue, including some great chemistry with the wonderful Linda Haynes, Hillerman as his immediate boss, and Hopkins as an amiable sociopath.
These passages are underscored by Dave Grusin's minimalist score with a light calliope motif, when Haynes displays her shimmy dance, and again when Hopkins obliquely threatens Miller in his office while playing with a carousel-shaped paperweight. It is not scoring of the Mickey Mouse variety, where every single movement has to be underscored. Thankfully, this is more subtle and appropriate, especially pleasing given the carnival themes.
There is a dream sequence which I found disappointingly forced among so much more subtle foreshadowing through dialogue and imagery. It does serve to focus the shift from the rural idyll back towards LA anxiety, but also deflated a finely built up contrast rather than punctuating it. However, this minor misstep did not spoil the overall tone of inevitability or derail the ending. The location of much backstory, setup and decision-making off screen and to be inferred through oblique dialogue rather than dull exposition is also a pleasant challenge atypical in much modern cinema across genre.
A quaint gangster film that tells what life is like at the bottom of the food chain. This is the anti-Good Fellas. The anti-hero of the movie is a guy named 'Mr. Cooper'. He's a guy at the end of his rope and influence.
It is an interesting story ... but, not something that I can recommend to my FB-friends.
Top notch character study, masquerading as a crime story. It's kind of surprising to see director Robert Mulligan ("To Kill a Mockingbird", "Man in the Moon", "Summer of '42") making a seedy crime story, but the character elements of the film are very consistent with his body of work. A great movie if you can find a copy of this hard to find title.