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The Brink's Job - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
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The Brink's Job
SIFF link: The Brink's Job (USA, 1978, 104 minutes, William Friedkin)
SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!

Boston crook Tony Pino (Peter Falk) plotted a simple larceny from a Brink's armored car, and with some friends he pulled in a surprisingly large haul. But laundering the money was expensive, and soon Pino and his gang were ready for another crime. Carefully observing the Brink's Building, he discovered that the reputedly impenetrable security appeared to be diminished by budgetary shortcuts, predictable patterns, sloppy practices, and other weaknesses. He gathered a band of thieves and plotted. Would the plan work?

9 Excellent The film was initially developed by John Frankenheimer, but he backed out. William Friedkin was brought in, after two hits (The French Connection and The Exorcist) and a financial bomb (Sorceror, also a critical failure at the time, but today highly regarded) that left him eager for a sure thing. Even so, he took a chance by giving the film a comic touch. The directing is excellent. The screenplay, by Walon Green, is also excellent. In combination, they do a good job of presenting a large cast of characters so that each is distinctive.

The acting is solid too. Peter Falk had just the right touch for the lead planner. Peter Boyle plays the obnoxious fence well. Warren Oates is distinctive as a veteran with combat fatigue and wild ideas. They and the rest of the criminals are excellent as an ensemble. Gena Rowlands is very good as Pino's wife. The only weak spot I noticed in the acting is that Sheldon Leonard just doesn't look much like J Edgar Hoover.

Another great point about the film – which earned an Oscar nomination – is the art direction. The sets, props, costumes, and general look of the film is great. And much to this screening audience's benefit, the print was in great condition.

Overall, I rate the film excellent.

Languages: English.

Rating: This film was rated "R", for smoking, drinking, crime, and lots of foul language.

Screening: 1:30 pm, SIFF Cinema at the Egyptian.
Audience: about half full, 450 seats (450 main floor; 125 balcony was closed). The theater was a bit on the warm side, but not as bad as on Thursday night.

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements:

  • TV5 Monde — Promotion for the long-time SIFF sponsor, featuring a current show.
  • Alaska Airlines — The great mystery: who is on the tail of the airliners?
  • Several promotions of coming film series:
    • The films of Paul Thomas Anderson
    • The documentaries of Errol Morris
    • Films featuring Seattle
    • Political thrillers of the 1970s
    • Revolutionary films of the 1960s
    • The melodramas of Douglas Sirk
  • No talking or texting allowed
  • Raw — The MPAA card listed "aberrant behavior" as one of the reasons for the film's "R" rating. The film gave a hint of the content, which looked like some sort of horror movie. A friend filled me in on more details from a print summary: a vegetarian eats meat as part of a hazing, and develops a terrible compulsion. (France, 2016)
  • Eddie Muller provided a commentary, which I recorded. I can transcribe it or upload it somewhere if I can't find a link to someone else's recording.

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