'The Anderson Tapes' happens to be Sidney Lumet's precursor to the 1975 classic caper flick 'Dog Day Afternoon' and is every bit as riveting and unweathered considering all the years that have gone by since 1972 when the movie was first released.
Staring Sean Connery, fresh of 007 duty, who turns in a ruggedly charming performance as safecracker Duke Anderson, just out into the world after a lengthy prison sentence, who shacks up with a voluptious ex-girlfriend in a high-end New York apartment populated with the uber-rich that he aims to 'clean up'. Lumet plays within the genre, quickly seting up an eclectic list of characters who are to assist Duke with his heist which includes a driver, a mob hitman, a young electrician (a young Christopher Walken) and a gay antique store owner. There is also the mafia involved with Alan King delivering a great performance as mob boss Angelo. And then there is the police survielance which surprisingly for a caper movie seem to be one step ahead and clear-headed rather than confused and riddled with muddled theories. It automatically ups the tension tenfold and also warrants a stylish punchy narrative that Lumet takes absolute delight in and exploits to the fullest with jumpcuts and freezeframes.
Another refreshing aspect of the movie is it's political incorrectness. Lumet seems to revel in the subtle racial and sexual digs that populate the script. He is clearly in command, directing with a kind of surity and confidence that he seems to have lost with recent films like 'Gloria' and 'Find me Guilty'.
Camera work is crisp and the editing packs in a whimsical punch and the wonderful jazzy soundtrack plays to the mood brilliantly.
From my synopsis, it may seem like your average caper flick but ending will skewer all that you expect. There is something larger at play and Lumet's greatest trick is that while he holds his cards close to his chest, he doesn't even let you know he's holding them.
A classic in the original Hollywood tradition.