For the best of the Horror/Cult/Exploitation film experience
The Silent Partner (1978)
Elliot Gould (“Mash”, “Ocean’s 11” and Ocean’s 12”) stars as Miles Cullen, a fish loving bank teller that soon takes part in a bank robbery in this entirely entertaining heist film based on Anders Bodelson’s novel “Think of a Number”. His nemesis is played by an intimidating Christopher Plummer. Christopher Plummer adds a sense of sleaze and camp to his role as a Santa Clause bank robber. When Miles learns that “Santa” plans on robbing the bank he stashes some of the cash in a lunch box to make a little bit of cash to put in his own pockets.
Elliot Gould does a fantastic job as Miles. He is goofy, charming and an extremely intelligent character that constantly outsmarts his creepy adversary. Christopher Plummer shocked me because he was able to pull of such a nasty character.
The movie gets rolling once the thief realizes Miles got his hands on the intended jackpot. He notices Miles on the news telling reporters how much money the robber got away with. The thief is alarmed when the number he hears doesn’t match his profits. Miles doesn’t only catch the attention of his archenemy. He also catches the attention of co-workers and bank goers now that he has became a heroic celebrity of course. Miles doesn’t only score the money. He’s too slick to only want currency. He also is smart enough to not to fall in his femme fatales trap. Instead he seduces her right before she tells him she’s in cahoots with the robber. Miles meets the bandit’s beautiful girlfriend (Celine Gomez) after he places the thief in jail after setting him up. Also Miles starts a relationship with his boss’s girl on the side Julie, played by Susannah York. Miles also adds pimp to his cool characters resume that made me more and more envious of his seduction skills during the films 101 minute running time.
Because of Plummer’s violent character, the occasional nudity, suspense, over the top robberies, one brutal murder and the never losing sleaze factor this cult film has enough elements to fit in the exploitation arena. Although the fun treats of cult cinema are laced throughout the film it is a well crafted exciting journey about a regular Joe taking the money and running. The scenes with Plummer and Gould interacting are genius. The writing is excellent by both the novelist Anders Bodelsen and Curtis Hanson who delivered a witty screenplay that flowed and left no plot holes. They crafted characters that had to work together while still being at each others throats. Director Daryl Duke hasn’t made many popular movies but I will always remember this exciting cat and mouse film that is both thrilling and unpredictable.
For those paying attention John Candy plays replaceable character that actually scores a bimbo bank teller. The entire cast seems like they had a fun time in this picture from 1978. This is my favorite era of cinema and I am proud to put this in my top films. The film had an element of slasher to it that kept me excited. Miles was always being stalked and he is never safe in his own home but he masterfully got out of harms way every time he was in danger. This is a film that requires brains but as a viewer I was never confused because everything on screen showed the story unfold without unclear moments of “What the Fuck?". Another thing I would like to mention is the absence of the annoying rotary phone rings in cinema nowadays. That noise makes the phone calls sound much more alarming and important. A vibrating cell phone doesn’t provoke me in the least. It’s almost a pointless criticism but it’s just something I thought I’d mention in this particular review. For those that like heist films like “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Inside Man” you may enjoy this but don’t expect the dramatic spectacle involving cops and bystanders. This film works because of the personality of those involved in the “job”.
Make sure you pick up this film that is films of old while packing the punch of exploitation cinema of the seventies. Miles goes through many obstacles through the film and Christopher Plummer delivers an unbelievable villain performance with many layers. The traits he wears on his face reflect his feelings such as envy, jealousy, admiration and hatred. He also had to have fun with his character especially with his unforgettable outfit in the films finale! Elliot Gould captured the charm of Humphrey Bogart and created a memorable character that scored with all the chicks! Not only does he evade the criminal and seduce women out to get him. He also keeps his tracks clean so the cops don’t catch on to his slick getaway clean methods of in house robbery.
Check out this highly entertaining story that was both witty and fascinating. All the characters were well drawn out and none of the performances came off as awkward. The ending was great and the film delivered many goodies like action, intensity, sexy women and again writing that sucked in the viewer. The perfect title of “The Silent Partner”should be stored into your must buy compartment in your brain!
Rating - *** ½