BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Aug 22nd, 2008 •

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Set in swinging sixties London, this is a nice little caper movie. When I say ‘little’ I mean small and intimate, as opposed to the usual ‘hi-tech’ caper movies that abound; the only ‘hi-tech’ obstacles our thieves have to overcome in this movie are some recently installed CCTV cameras.

Laura Quinn (Moore) is a high-flying exec in the London Diamond Company. Reaching such a position is unusual for a woman at that time, but her attempts at climbing further up the ladder are thwarted each time. Following an underhand deal with the Russians to influence the price of South African diamonds, Quinn is deemed a risk and, unbeknownst to her, the company have decided to fire her. Ageing and widowed janitor Mr. Hobbs (Caine) however does know of the company’s plans regarding Miss Quinn and uses this to encourage her to help him with a long-nurtured plan to steal some of the diamonds. Not a lot, just a small amount that the Company wouldn’t even miss but enough to set them both up for the rest of their days. Say a thermos flask full.

Finding that no other banking company will take her on and angry that the Company have ruined her career Quinn decides to go along, albeit reluctantly. Mr. Hobbs is the night shift cleaner with access to all the lower floors, wherein lies the vault. The heist goes ahead.

The following morning the company workers arrive, including Quinn, to find that the entire diamond vault has impossibly been stripped clean of every single, solitary diamond. Quinn is now in a panic. This wasn’t the plan. And how had Hobbs, and old man with a limp, carried off this feat single-handedly? Hoping to avoid financial chaos the Company keep the heist quiet and conduct their own internal investigation, bringing in the expert Finch. In an attempt to keep one step ahead of the investigation, Quinn offers to be Finch’s assistant on the case.

From this point the film follows, successfully, territory previously explored in Ray Milland’s THE BIG CLOCK (1948), Kostner’s NO WAY OUT (1987) and Denzel Washington’s OUT OF TIME (2003) where the main character is involved in an investigation which ultimately is going to lead to themselves.

There are quite a few surprises, plot turns, and a great reveal at the end as the true motive behind the theft comes to light.

As I said this is quite an intimate little movie where performances count and, as usual, Michael Caine shines effortlessly in this. It’s also one of the best performances (if not THE best) I’ve seen from Demi Moore. Joss Ackland blusters as the no-nonsense Company Chairman and how nice it was to see the too-often overlooked and under-used Derren Nesbitt, best remembered as the blonde, blue-eyed, slimy-lipped SS-Sturmbannführer Von Happen in WHERE EAGLES DARE (1968), back in a main feature, albeit playing another villain.

The period is nicely evoked with locations in France and Luxembourg doubling for some of London’s 1960s streets and some excellently detailed set design. And there’s a nice bit of Dave Brubeck’s Take Five on the soundtrack.

Refreshing and well worth viewing.

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