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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Heists New and Noir

August 29th, 2017 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on our occasional podcast segment, Tell Me More.

Recommended

Drive a Crooked Road (Film, US, Richard Quine, 1954) A femme fatale (Barbara Matthews) lures a lonely race car driver (Mickey Rooney) into being the wheelman for a robbery. Although the tension remains more theoretical than actual, Rooney’s wounded, stoic performance (and a strong villain turn by Kevin McCarthy) carries the film around the corners and down the stretch. –KH

Dunkirk (Film, UK, Christopher Nolan, 2017) Trapped British soldiers evacuate the beach at Mole as civilian boaters cross the Channel in an improvised rescue attempt. Experiential war epic composed almost entirely of suspense beats.–RDL

Kansas City Confidential (Film, US, Phil Karlson, 1952) A perfect crime goes awry when the designated patsy (John Payne) begins to track down the four masked perpetrators. Taut script ratchets the tension steadily demonstrating the power of a strong story and supporting cast (Lee Van Cleef and Preston Foster especially)  even with workmanlike direction on a shoestring budget. –KH

Logan Lucky (Film, US, Steven Soderbergh, 2017) Working class West Virginian brothers (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver) stage an ingenious, low-tech race track heist. Soderbergh ends filmdom’s least plausible retirement with this cheerfully loose, country ham variant on the Ocean’s series. I won’t spoil the comic riff aimed straight at the geek funnybone.–RDL

Plunder Road (Film, US, Hubert Cornfield, 1957) Five men rob a gold shipment from a government train in a pouring rainstorm and 13 taut, dialogue-free minutes of film. As in many great noirs, the camera lovingly fixates on the mechanism of the crime, in this case on the trucks used to heist the bullion and to try and run it from Utah to California. A veteran cast including Gene Raymond and Elisha Cook, Jr. drives the heist-realité scenario to a strong finish. –KH

Good

Classe Tous Risques (Film, France/Italy, Claude Sautet, 1960) After his escape from a robbery goes wrong, gangster Abel Davos (Lino Ventura) turns to his former Vichyite partners for assistance, triggering the slow-motion destruction of their comfortable postwar lives. Jean-Paul Belmondo plays a young driver and hood who for reasons that remain opaque becomes Davos’ friend. After a high-test first act, the rest of the film settles into a more contemplative slow burn. –KH

Game of Thrones Season 7 (Television, US, HBO, David Benioff & D. B. Weiss, 2017) With the board swept of minor players, factions vying for control of Westeros prepare to square off—but the White Walkers have other ideas. An admirable shift to brisker pacing, plus the show’s most thrilling set piece sequence, give way to a final two episodes that will stand forever in the annals of idiot plotting.—RDL

Okay

Dragnet (Film, US, Jack Webb, 1954) Full-color spinoff of the long-running police procedural TV show, playing like a somewhat more violent two-hour episode. Most interesting as camp fodder or as a look into Webb’s idea of what a cop movie should be, with a few wild swerves but (aside from an affecting but incongruous scene with Virginia Gregg as the victim’s widow) not much meat. –KH

One Response to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: Heists New and Noir”

  1. Andrew says:

    What in particular is the idiot plotting?

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