I watched The Silent Partner last night and it's pretty fantastic, full of intrigue and 70s-era Elliott Gould and more intrigue. Gould plays a staid Toronto bank worker who spots a man casing the bank and decides to steal most of the money himself during the robbery attempt. The robber, Christopher Plummer, is understandably upset (though why it causes him to start wearing very sinister eyeliner the rest of the movie is unclear) and begins to harass Gould into giving up the loot.
The movie starts to click with Plummer on the loose, and each time it begins to feel like a by-the-numbers caper drama, Plummer shows up to act like a sociopath. Surprising even himself, Gould proves both willing to fight for the money and effective at it. He has wits and Plummer has violence, but both are cold, methodical men. The emotional torpor that stagnates Gould in his personal life allows him to react to Plummer's threats as just another transaction to be handled as if at his teller counter.
Eye liner and all, Plummer is pretty incredible here though I wonder if he would have been without the clothes of the era. Even when we see him briefly in prison, he's wearing a wide-collared shirt unbuttoned to the bottom of his sternum and tight, tall pants that prominently display a belt he sometimes wields as a weapon. If they made this movie today, he'd probably be played as a suit-wearing criminal sophisticate rather than the strutting sex criminal he is here.Other notes:
•This movie also has a young John Candy as an awkward, chubby cuckold. It's the role he was born to play.
•The first third or so of the movie takes place in December, and everyone keeps saying Merry Christmas to Elliott Gould's character without so much as a Happy Holidays. Apparently Hanukkah didn't come to Canada until 1984.
•Curtis Hanson wrote the screenplay. I don't know what this means, except that Curtis Hanson has been around a long time.
•Somehow Christopher Plummer has aged 125 years since this movie was made. Look at him now:
Good god. Whatever Christopher Plummer has done, you shouldn't do.