Directed by: John Schlesinger
I had always wanted to see this one. But as with so many older titles, I just never got around to it.
The 70's were such a different time in terms of film-making. Thrillers were all the rage back then and when done right, are still considered classics today.
This one came out in '76 and it's utterly apparent just by looking at the scenery of New York. Reminded me a lot of the look of the first Superman to be honest. The clothes, the cars, the signs....totally vintage New York.
Though I was pretty much confused for at least 30 minutes or so, things slowly get explained a little at a time and it becomes much more clear, which is the way a thriller should work. You don't want to be given all the information and have the whole story laid out for you right from the beginning, what fun is that?
The story is complex and as I stated, a little confusing at times. Which makes it kind of funny in the end when you realize what the story ends up being about and how simple it really is. You can't help but say out loud "That's what this is all about?!". Pretty much stated by Dustin Hoffman's character himself in the end of the film.
Because if the complexity of the story, I don't want to give too much away in terms of plot. I was confused as hell for a while going into this, but thats the fun part. Trying to figure out what the hell is going on without being given too much information. I will say it has to do with Nazis, diamonds, dentistry and a secret U.S. government group called "The Division". You really never know who works for who or who is on who's side as you're constantly having the rug pulled out from under you in a lot of "what the...?" moments.
But it's done so well by director John Schlesinger. The pace is tight and every actor and bit player is at the top of there game. This was Dustin Hoffman at the height of his career, throwing out film after film of intense performances, with this one being no different. Laurence Olivier is cruel, scary and evil as hell in here and though he's known for classic Shakespearian work, you'll never look at him the same way again. That goes for dentistry as well. Who knew it could be used as a form of torture??!!!
If you're looking for a really good and intense thriller, check this one out. There's a reason why it's considered a classic and the 70's setting is perfect nostalgia for a film geek. Olivier won the well deserved best supporting actor for this in '76 and it did considerably well at the box office. As far as story goes, I loved how you're given a bunch of sequences without much explanation that don't really seem to relate to each other at all. Only little bits and pieces of information as the story gradually comes together........the way a good thriller should be.
They just don't make movies like this anymore.