Film review The Anderson Tapes (15)

ANDERSON TAPES

ANDERSON TAPES - Credit: Archant

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

ANDERSON TAPES

ANDERSON TAPES - Credit: Archant

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.

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.


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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

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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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