Experts Attempt Bank Vault Burglary In A Work Having Many At
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 11/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A thoroughgoing plan toward husking London's largest and most secure holding bank of the contents of its safety deposit boxes, a quite improbable venture, is basis for action in this nicely finished film that successfully and consistently features valuable understatement in its script. American architect Stephen Booker (Martin Sheen), working and residing in England and married to an English woman (Susannah York), is facing a depressing future after an important contract for which he and his partner have bid is awarded to a competing contestant, leaving Booker's firm essentially fundless and paving the way for what will not be a standardized adventure film. The newly unemployed architect's efforts to find a new position are unsuccessful, as he is repeatedly reminded by those with oversight of the jobs for which he is applying that he is "overqualified", until he is of a sudden hired by one Mike Daniels (Albert Finney) to design a conversion of an entire city block, an assignment that will serve to elide Stephen's rampant personal debts to his banker, played incisively by Robert Morley. However, after Stephen has discovered from documents while developing plans for the project that Daniels, his new boss, is an apparent mountebank, he resigns from his new position, thereby being forced to encounter his ambitious wife's spleen, in addition to that of his banker, so that when Daniels, a proficient safebreaker, urges Booker to rejoin him as part of a carefully selected crew of criminal specialists organized for the bank breakin, Stephen decides that becoming a temporary accomplice is less intolerable than becoming increasingly destitute. And so, into mid-town London's rat infested sewer tunnels goes the skilled team of burglars toward their targeted vault (actually filmed within the Unilever Building upon the north side of Blackfriars Bridge), but their carefully devised heist, that will incidentally free Stephen Booker from his monetary obligations, is fraught with unforeseen complications, realistically presented here by cast and crew. Direction is excellent, focussing upon convincing detail supplied by a well-written screenplay that avoids turgid psychodrama in favour of the mechanics of a scheme that becomes of compelling interest to a viewer who will additionally find the characters of interest simply because their innermost thoughts are not voiced, and the intriguing possibilities suggested by the climax are stimulative. Finney handily earns the acting laurels, dominating his scenes with an engaging performance as an actuating criminal specialist, and there is fine playing by all members of the talented cast, quite synchronous to the refinements soaked throughout the script, with markedly solid turns from Colin Blakely and Alfred Lynch as two of Daniels' henchmen. The superb editing of Ralph Sheldon serves to intensify this well-crafted affair, not distributed within the United Kingdom, and it is salted with the valuable contributions tendered by Michael Reed and his camera, Maurice Cain for always appropriate designing, and Ian Wingrove for the special visual effects, in particular when the sewer exit route to be used by the thieves is flooded following an unforecast downpour."
Life is short
J. W. Hickey | Manhattan area | 08/21/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this item because of the cast, and it is admittedly a pleasure to watch them in performance. But there are too many excellent heist movies and TV series out there (the two ITALIAN JOBs, THE STING, $ with Warren Beatty, even a near-noir morality tale from the pre-Code Thirties called THE WRONG ROAD, and such box sets as MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and HUSTLE) that this one can't compete. It's not only slow, but slow in sewer full of liquid offal--not the most pleasant place to spend one's movietime."