1 January 2003 | trpdean
Ugly mystery with low budget feel but saved by fine actors
This is a truly ugly little movie - from start to finish, it lacks warmth, familiarity. Indeed, it begins and ends in a cemetery. Its look gives it a low budget feel- though the high powered cast must have made it more expensive than it looks.
the movie is saved by its choice of actors. This must be one of the most unusual casts assembled: Art Carney, Roger Moore, Anne Archer, Elliott Gould, Rod Steiger, David Hedison (known particularly to Americans for the TV series, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea but I think he also served as Felix Leitner in one of the Bond movies). What a group.
The sight of Roger Moore as a pathetic, terrified, weak, indignant psychiatrist is also truly disorienting. As he runs and pushes chairs against doorknobs to stop one man chasing him, trembling in fear, it's VERY hard to not cry out "007, WAKE UP! One karate chop will do it!
I think the best of a generation of American actors were Rod Steiger, Jason Robards, Marlon Brando, and George C. Scott. Steiger's role isn't a wonderful one - but he is as usual, fascinating to watch to see the accents, looks, manners, that he will choose to portray the character.
I am very fond of Elliott Gould - though he underplays his role here. Anne Archer is lovely - as she is as the wife of Harrison Ford in all the Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan movies, and of course as the wife of Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction.
Art Carney is absolutely extraordinary - very amusing - it's as if his dialogue was written by someone other than the sleepy TV movie of the week folks who wrote the other dialogue.
This is worth watching - if you don't expect too much. E.g., if you want to see Roger Moore play another role - and I like Moore very much -it's fine. He's also charming and funny in the comedy, That Lucky Touch with Susannah York.