1973, Peter Yates, 102 mins.
A small-time crook gets in over his head.
Robert Mitchum could be a terrible, lazy actor when his mind wasn't on the job. But here, as small-time crook Eddie Coyle who is destroyed by his basic decency, he demonstrates just how good he could be at his best; subtle, mesmerising and able to break your heart. It’s a bleak, sad story but leavened with rich characterisations and plenty of salty humour, delivered to perfection by a cast of familiar faces including Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, Steven Keats and Alex Rocco. The direction by Peter Yates is an outstanding example of how to make the most of a good script and a capable cast and the result is his best film; he trusts the audience to listen and be patient. Victor J. Kemper’s cinematography has that characteristic 1970s grittiness and Dave Grusin’s jazzy score keeps you in the mood.