Tuesday, 5 October 2010

High and Low

I had put this on our Love Film list after it being recommended by the manager of the Aberdeen Picture House cinema: The Belmont (Dallas King, http://championshipcelluloid.blogspot.com/http://twitter.com/#!/Dallas_Belmont). As he had raved about it, citing it as one of the high points while completing his Empire Top 500 films challenge, I had high expectations of it. Though it wasn't the knockout film I was expecting I did enjoy it.

The plot revolves around a case of mistaken kidnapping; the target: the son of a successful businessman, but actually his chauffeur's son is taken instead. The first half of the film is quite tense as it is shot almost exclusively in the living room of the businessman Mr Gondo. As they come to terms with the kidnapping, the arrival of the police, speaking to the kidnapper and hearing his demands the tension builds as emotions boil over. Following the handover of the money to the kidnapper, the second part of the film is concerned with the police hunt for the kidnapper. Though this is all very well shot and scripted, it just didn't sit with me so well.

The police kept saying they were really keen to catch the kidnapper in a way that made it sound like a favour. As if they felt sorry for Mr Gondo as he had lost millions because of paying the ransom. Fair enough, but it was said so often that it made me think that if he wasn't such a great guy and had so much money, that the police wouldn't have given a shit. I also kept expecting a twist at the end, expecting that the kidnapper was one of Mr Gondo's rivals who was trying buy his shares in the company; but that never materialised. However, that said, the film is very good and I enjoyed it, I think I'm probably just being over-cynical for a 1963 film; tastes and expectations change. The plot is very methodical, but I think that is also one of it's strong points; the police investigation is also very methodical and thorough, everything is explained carefully in meetings in the police station (reminds me of how methodical and realistic Bullitt is). The script is also pacey; though it is a fairly long film (2 hours 20 min), the story doesn't feel like it drags at all.

Anyway, enough rambling. If you don't believe me (chances are you don't), go and see it (chances are you haven't already!).