In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_9wgvrnpd4ytczji0sy69av8rpfz

Phoenix

A film this satisfying on every level—one that can be enjoyed purely for its narrative while also providing material for hours of discussion on its…

Thumb_staten

Staten Island Summer

They don’t make movies that seem to purposefully waste the talents of current “SNL” stars much any more. Well, except for this one.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Deadfall

  |  

Why is it, Eric Portman asks Michael Caine, that jewel thieves are regarded with an affection denied other criminals? Well might he ask. We've entered upon a season of movies about robberies: "Deadfall" is the latest, after "The Thomas Crown Affair," "Robbery," "Grand Slam," "The Violent Four," and "The Jokers," with the world premiere of "The Split" promised for Tuesday night.

It's a mystery why these movies should be so fashionable right now. The gangster films of the 1930s were popular, it is said, because they gave depression audiences the illusion that one daring individual could take his financial well being into his own hands. But in the 1960s crime movies, the money hardly seems to figure; indeed, Thomas Crown is a millionaire to begin with, and the heroes of "The Jokers" steal the crown jewels just to see if they can.

No, it seems to be the game and not the money that fascinates the new movie criminals. And not so much the money as jewelry. And that may answer Eric Portman's questions about why people like jewel thieves. Diamonds and jewels are, strictly speaking, not money at all. They are valuable simply because the human race has entered into a conspiracy to agree they are valuable, If you have half a million tied up in diamonds, wouldn't you be a little concerned if no one had the courtesy to want to steal them?

All of which is not exactly about "Deadfall," which is not a very good robbery movie. It might have been. Of the newer stars, Michael Caine is one of the best. Bryan Forbes is good at directing brooding, moody, psychological thrillers ("Séance on a Wet Afternoon," "The Whisperers"). But the combination didn't jell.

For one thing, the film should have either been about the burglary or about romantic intrigues, not about both. That was one trouble with "Thomas Crown." Another distraction in "Deadfall" is Gerry Turpin's photography. He's constantly changing the focus so you first see something in the foreground, and then you see something in the background.

Forbes does the same thing, in an arty, irritating passage where he alternates between a symphony concert and the burglary. If directors would only be content to make a good, simple thievery movie, how happy we could be.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.

Look Away, Dixie Land: Reflections on Life in the South, Racist Iconography, and Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing

A reprint of an article by Greg Carpenter about the Confederate Flag.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus