The Silent Partner

Tagline : It's not about the money… It's about revenge.

Runtime : 102 mins

Genre : Drama Thriller

Vote Rating : 7/10


Reviews for this movie are available below.

Plot : Toronto, Canada. A few days before Christmas, Miles Cullen, a bored teller working at a bank branch located in a shopping mall, accidentally learns that the place is about to be robbed when he finds a disconcerting note on one of the counters.

Cast Members

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Reviews

The Silent Partner (1978) filmnoiroftheweek.com Is The Silent Partner the best Canadian crime film? That's a bit of a joke because I can't think of any other Canadian crime film. I first discovered the movie about 5 years ago. I'm a movie nerd, and this movie is so small and forgotten even the most die hard crime film fans have probably never heard of it. The film never got the correct distribution in theaters in the US, and wasn't rediscovered on VHS or TV the years following it's release. That's a shame. The movie bookends nicely with Elliot Gould's other neo-noir starrer from 5 years earlier The Long Goodbye. Like Gould's interpretation of Philip Marlowe as a sleepwalking gumshoe trying to understand 70s Los Angeles, Gould cleverly makes his character in The Silent Partner something more than meets the eye. Kim Morgan interviewed Gould recently as part of the screening of the film Christmas Eve at the New Beverly Cinema in LA. Gould says his character Miles is "a very interesting metaphor in getting someone to come out and get involved in life." Gould plays a humble bank teller. He spends all his time alone with his fish, books and chess board in a cozy apartment that just begs to hang around in all day. He's shaken back to life when he find out a bank robbery is being planned at work. Instead if reporting it, he figures out a way to rip off the robber and bank. He wakes from his day to day life to find that he'll take a chance at a criminal act. The thing is, he discovers quickly that he's very good at being a manipulative criminal. The most memorable scene in the film is the bank robbery by Santa Claus. Harry the fake Claus is played by Christopher Plummer. It's a jaw-dropping performance. When he's not in disguise he's a overly-tanned slight man who wears eyeliner and long, manicured nails. A wholly original character. The best comparisons to other movie villains would be DeNiro's Mephistopheles in Angel Heart merged with Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast. When Harry beats a woman nearly to death at his gym (to create an alibi) the gym guy says, "Harry, you really went too far this time." Ouch. He's smart and deadly right from the start. Harry realizes after the robbery that he was short changed a pile of Canadian cash. He quickly puts two-and-two together and hunts bank teller Miles down. And every time Harry thinks he can intimidate and pressure Miles into giving him the money, Miles finds a way to double cross him. It's not "cat and mouse" it's "cat and cat." Gould goes the extra mile here. If another actor was cast in the lead, every tip off and double cross would have been hinted at. Gould plays it straight. He takes sharp left turns at full speed without warning. And it drives the professional criminal Harry crazy. It's fun to watch and reminded me a bit of Richard Stark's Parker. You're only shown Miles' plan when it happens. The rest of the cast is strong, but the film is really about Miles and Harry. Susannah York (Superman's mom the same year) and model/actress Céline Lomez are the females in the film. York is frustrated after being dismissed by Gould shortly after a romantic hookup. But like most reveals you have no idea why until the finale. Equally stunning Lomez is under Plummer's Svengali spell until her ultraviolet end involving death by aquarium and a burial that would be approved by Hitchcock or Patricia Highsmith. John Candy appear in the film well before he's a star. Even when he's doing his background miming, you can't help but look at him. A true movie star. A few touches are amusing watching today. When the bank robbery first happens, Miles becomes a bit of an unexpected media celebrity. A 70s version of a internet sensation. The mall Miles' bank is located is painted classic drab 70s brown and tan. The mall fast food place is so Canadian they sell healthy juice instead of junk. York's huge apartment is one of those "only in movies" places that no assistant bank manager could ever afford. Finally, I should mention a few nods to classic noir. When York meet Gould for a ride to the company Christmas Party, she enters the scene atop a tall staircase just like Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity. And Christopher Plummer wears a ankle bracelet not unlike one worn by Stanwyck in the same film! Directed expertly by Daryl Duke and a perfectly constructed screenplay penned by Curtis Hanson (who would reach even greater heights with his Christmas neo-noir LA Confidential!). Music by the "Maharaja of the keyboard" Oscar Peterson (his only film soundtrack.) If you're in LA, the film is playing at the New Beverly Theater Christmas Eve. Streamers can actually find the film in great shape on Amazon, Itunes or Google's movie streaming services for only a few bucks (US). Written by Steve-O

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