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Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO
Reviewed on 4/29/2016...
George C. Scott portrays a detective in this low key sinister film. He finds there is a secret formula for making synthetic oil, concocted by the Nazis within WW2. This formula can put the enormously profitable oil business out of business because it is derived from synthetic materials and this means no more drilling or refining necessary. Marlon Brando plays his usual dark and deceptive character as the head of Titan Oil who needs this formula to disappear once and for all! Very interesting and well cast acting behind the main characters helps keep this somewhat slow moving film work and Scott is always a winner!
Formulaic is the word
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 01/16/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Pitched as `the movie the oil companies don't want you to see' but instead proving to be the movie nobody wanted to see, The Formula is a classic example of how blockbuster novels so often turn into mundane films. It has a solid cast, a solid script, solid production values - everything, in fact, but a reason to watch it. It's one of those lethargic thrillers where cardboard characters constantly talk to each other about things that happened offscreen and which the film would have been far better showing us as George C. Scott's LA cop uncovers a conspiracy involving a Nazi formula for synthetic fuel that Marlon Brando's eccentric oilman wants kept under lock and key so he can artificially inflate the price of oil. The teaming of Oscar's two most famous refusniks sadly provides no sparks - indeed, there was reportedly more drama offscreen at the time between director John G. Avildsen and writer/producer Steve Shagan over the re-editing of the film, so it's a genuine surprise to find them jovially sharing the audio commentary on Warners' new DVD. Not that it seems that anyone else was so passionate about the film: there's no shortage of class talent here (John Gielgud and Beatrice Straight also turn up), but it's clear that the paycheck is of more interest to them than the script and they're just slumming it. Not a terrible movie, just a rather flat, uneventful and predictable one.
Warners' widescreen 1.85:1 DVD transfer is adequate, but not up to their usual standards, with the mono soundtrack particularly flat. Despite the packaging stating it includes a Brando trailer gallery, the only extra is the audio commentary."
One of the most poorly edited films in history
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 07/13/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm on board with everything Trevor Willsmer said about this film and will go him one better: this is the most poorly edited film in movie history. The chain of events in this movie is so incongruous is strains the viewer to stay involved and eventually defeats every viewer's ability to manage the "plot".
I'll never forget the day I waited in anticipation of seeing it at the theater when it came out in 1980. While standing in line to enter, my frined from work came out. I asked him how it was. "You have to keep up with it," he said.
Not much question today that he wasn't being cryptic or evasive in his response. This film had everything going for it -- great actors, a timely plot, perhaps even more timely today, great studio values, wonderful lighting, everything except an editor.
Why wasn't this film re-edited?"
What you didn't know about OPEC.
Mark Loupe | Baton Rouge, LA. USA | 04/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great thriller about Oil and politics. As you know our country has protected our intrest in the Middle East for decades. Many americans have gone to war and have died because of it. I'm sure there are hundreds of servicemen we don't even know about who have similarly died as well. This movie has an un-nerving plot and the climax is even more unbeliveable. You have got to see this irony."