29 December 2007 | lost-in-limbo
Ex-crime journalist Raymond St Ives is struggling for doe, due to his gambling addiction and his slow progress of his unfinished novel. His offered a job as a "go-between" for the strange, old wealthy Abner Procane. He'll be payed 10,000 dollars for the job, to hand over cash for the exchange of Procane's stolen ledgers. However since he takes the job, nothing seems quite right and this leaves St Ives trying to put together what happened at the bungle exchange.
Director J. Lee Thompson along with actor Charles Bronson ( the first exercise to kick start their long-listed collaborations together) churn out a acceptable time-filler in the shape of the luxuriously smooth and constantly busy comic-crime caper "St Ives". Underlining the atmospherically exotic style is Thompson's sophisticatedly tidy direction, along with Lucien Ballard's handsomely crisp cinematography and Lalo Schifrin's high-strung score of sizzling jazz arrangement. The screenplay by Barry Beckerman is sleek, but overly knotty and perplexing in its deliberate developments of a devious layout. Still it stays conventional to the scheming and shady connections lurking around nearly every corner, and this generally engages. Sometimes not deliberately so, like often mentioned 'drive-in' sequence. The offbeat script can loose shape (even though it manages some quite cheeky dialogues), and begin to slumber off in the pulpy latter end of the film. The action is quite little, but pacey with some well performed and animatedly stylised stunts. The production managed to get a hold off a sensational cast. Charles Bronson in the lead as St Ives eases into the performance nicely. Jacqueline Bisset adds a sumptuously classy touch. John Houseman is very fun, and Dana Elcar gets some memorable scenes. Maximilian Schell hones in one hammy entrée turn, and Harry Guardino and Harris Yulin likewise are amusing. Also look out for some diverting performances from up-and-coming Robert Englund and Jeff Goldblum as two petty crooks. Michael Lerner and Elisha Cook Jr show up in minor roles too.
An elegantly charming enterprise with an excellent Bronson performance and great support.