Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Hot Rock (1972)

The Hot Rock (aka How to Steal a Diamond in Four Uneasy Lessons) is about 4 con men who are obsessed with stealing a large diamond from a museum, jail, police station and bank. That's probably the best way to describe it.

This film is fantastic, I absolutely dug it from the moment go. The opening scene is such a great moment where Redford's character Dortmunder is walking through the prison after just getting released. The credits are rolling as he's making his way through all of the release procedures, it's just great.

The cast is perfect and the execution is amazing, you just never know which way it's going to turn or how it's going to turn out. George Segal is great as Kelp the keymaster but special praise must go to Zero Mostel who plays a ballsy lawyer, his role was perfect. I can't fault any of the actors or cast choices as they were all great, my personal favourite was Ron Leibman as Murch, the ex-racing car driver turned getaway man who can literally drive anything and loves nothing more than sitting back and listening to the loud sound of motor cars on the track. I even noticed a young Christopher Guest as a guard in the police station heist scene.

There are too many great scenes to list here and I really wouldn't want to spoil anything for those who haven't seen it either, but the one I would like to mention is the prison break out where Murch is waiting outside the prison in the car and they all jump in and he drives them to safety in the back of a truck, it's pretty damn special that one. Don't get me wrong that scene has been done to death in most movies but I loved the way it was executed here.

"Afghanistan Bananastand."

One line that stuck in my head the most was when Dortmunder goes into his old local bar and the bartender already knows what drink he's having, even after all the time that he has spent in prison. He just utters the line; "Once I got your drink, your mine for life." I loved it and I loved that guy behind the bar too. Why aren't places like that anymore?

I can't praise this film highly enough as it's a work of art. You can't look away from the screen for a second because you know you're gonna miss a key plot scene.
If you love this as much as I did then I suggest you check out another similar classic called How To Steal A Million (1966). It stars Peter O'Toole and Audrey Hepburn and it's fantastic.

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