Classic Crime and Repercussions.
Peter Yates (Bullet, Krull) brings us his adaptation of the critically acclaimed novel of the same name by George V. Higgins (Killing The Softly). Beautifully restored in a High-definition transfer and with added extra interviews and a 44 page booklet and archive photos. Peter Yates brings out probably Robert Mitchum‘s (Ryan’s Daughter) defining performance with his supporting cast also giving an understated stellar performances.
Eddie ‘Finger’ Coyle (Robert Mitchum, Cape Fear) is a truck driver and a veteran small time crook, down on his luck but not a down and out, like everyone he needs jobs, on either side of the law. He contacts his long time friend and contact Dillon (Peter Boyle, Taxi Driver) who runs his local bar.
But Eddie has bad form as he fluffed a driving job for Dillon a while back and he is awaiting sentencing in up-state New Hampshire and is looking at a 2-5 year stretch inside which would mean his wife and three young children on benefits like vagrants and transients. (Not the words he uses, racist comment).
Eddie has one side line, supplying a crew of bank robbers with new guns for each heist. We see a man pull up at his parking bay and Mr Partridge gets out and goes to the front door of the South Shore National Bank, he is let in and the people watching him depart. After having cased the joint the plan is set in motion. The M.O of the gang is to take the banks managers family hostage whilst the do the job, ensuring a clean job and getaway, relying on the close-nit working environment of a small town national bank. The gang led by Jimmy Scalise (Alex Rocco, The Godfather) and Artie Van (Joe Santos, The Last Boy Scout) with Waters (Mitchell Ryan, Lethal Weapon) taking the hostage cover.
Coyle has to get the guns and his contact is the edgy Jackie Brown (Steven Keats, Death Wish). With the gang doing a lot of jobs and that keeps the money coming in for Eddie but he needs lots of untraceable guns and he is always pushing Jackie who has other clients and orders to fill.
But the main thing on Eddie’s mind is that conviction and he doesn’t want to do the time at his age and the only way for this to happen is to talk to the ATF agent (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) Dave Foyle (Richard Jordan, Logan’s Run, Dune, Hunt for the Red October). Foyle won’t do something for nothing and wants Eddie to work for him and this is Eddie’s dilemma, is there honour amongst thieves or will he be selfish and get away from it all.
This is a slow paced deliberate film showing the complexities of the human fear of incarceration and what you are willing to do to stay of the bread line. This film is still regarded as one of the best post World War II crime films, so this Masters of Cinemas #121 release is definitely one to own.