Film review The Anderson Tapes (15)

PUBLISHED: 09:27 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 09:27 05 November 2020




The late Sean Connery is an ex con under surveillance in Sidney Lumet’s 1971 thriller which offers a dark and grimy vista of America


After serving ten years for safe cracking, Duke Anderson (Connery) emerges from prison in the early 70s to find that it is 1984. Everywhere he goes, the ex-con is under surveillance. He can’t move without popping up on a wiretap.

If he knew, he’d feel persecuted; if he knew that none of it was actively aimed at him and his proposed criminal enterprise, he’d feel slighted.

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Featuring Connery’s first toupee-less big screen appearance, Sidney (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon) Lumet’s thriller is a cracking crime drama, let down by the fact that Anderson’s upmarket, high tech heist is a stupid, foolhardy endeavour.

But the film was prophetic. Within a couple of years, The President would be entangled in the scandal of his own compulsive home taping habit.

The New York of the Anderson Tapes is a jostling, grimy vista of humanity (as Lumet New Yorks tend to be), with a cop, a gangster or undercover agent on every corner. It’s a dark, how-did-we-come-to-this? vision of America, from a time when they believed that Nixon would be the lowest point in the Republican Party’s Presidential limbo dance.

3/5 stars

Directed by Sidney Lumet. 1971. Starring Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker, Alan King, Garret Morris and Christopher Walken. Out on Blu-ray from Indicator films Nov 16. Running time: 97 mins.

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