Saturday, April 16, 2011

So Long Sidney

I rarely do Memorials, watching a movie because someone died. We watched The Anderson Tapes because Mr. Peel reviewed it a few weeks ago, and I didn't want to have to read around the spoilers. It was mere coincidence that Sidney Lumet died shortly after we watched it.

He is not one of my favorite directors, and I guess Anderson Tapes isn't really typical. It stars Sean Connery as Duke Anderson, a convict just released from prison, along with an old guy called Pops and a very young Christopher Walken. Walken looks gorgeous, like Terence Stamp as Willy Garvin - all shaggy blond hair and cheekbones.

We watch him released from prison and visit Dyan Cannon, his callgirl girlfriend - but we also watch him through security cameras, surveillance systems and we see the man who is bugging Cannon's apartment. Because in the modern world into which Connery has been released, no one goes unwatched. This may be a problem for him when he decides to rob everyone in the high-rent apartment where Cannon lives.

All unknowing, he sets up the heist. He gathers the team - Walken and Pops, Martin Balsam as a swishy antiques dealer, Dick Williams as driver (under surveillance because he lives over the Panther's HQ in Harlem). they get mob funding from Alan King. All this is played loose - not quite a comic heist, but not too serious. Thn things start to go sour. Spoilers ahead.

First, the guy who has been paying for Cannon's apartment wants her to leave Connery, and she does. What makes this so creepy is her reason - it's clear that she is getting real feelings for Connery, and as a hooker, she can't afford that. Earlier on she told him, "I hated it. It felt like I was losing control." It's not clear what "it" is - but they are discussing it in bed.

The heist part of the film is masterful, with flash forwards to police interviews with the victims that just up the suspense without giving anything away. I won't give anything away either, except to say that this one won't leave you laughing.

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