Friday, August 06, 2004

maudlin by holcroftian proportions

You wonder how a fine actor like Michael Caine and a capable director like John Frankenheimer [The Manchurian Candidate, Seconds, Black Sunday, The Train] could collaborate to generate this Ludlum adaptation that virtually operates throughout its entireity in auto-pilot mode. Caine's character is an architect, who finds out that his father, a confidant of Adolf Hitler, had left behind a fortune to make amends for all the atrocities the Nazis had committed, except that he has to find the heirs of his father's colleagues as well, before attempting to use the money for charitable goals. All along the way, there's the predictable sense of nothing really being what it appears to be. There are artifacts of Frankenheimer's talent in framing, editing, and pacing, and the fairground chase sequence recalls Welles's nightmarish surreal assemblage for The Trial. And Caine's underplayed tongue-in-cheek becomes less of what he is capable of, to being something that he just turned in, in return for a paycheck. And he also gets to mouth some of the worst lines since his turn in The Swarm. Priceless as a bad movie, worthless as a testimony to the skills of anyone qualified who chose to retain a credit for this movie.

For a more detailed shootout, check out the review on Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension.

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