Saturday 12 August 2023

Movie Review: Assignment To Kill (1968)

Genre: Crime Investigation Thriller
Director: Sheldon Reynolds
Starring: Patrick O'Neal, Joan Hackett, John Gielgud, Herbert Lom
Running Time: 102 minutes

Synopsis: Private detective Richard Cutting (Patrick O'Neal) is hired by an insurance company to investigate a fraud case involving shipping tycoon Curt Valayan (John Gielgud). Cutting travels to Zurich in search of Walter Green (Peter van Eyck), who may hold crucial information about the case, and quickly tangles with Valayan's ruthless fixer Matt Wilson (Herbert Lom) and his murderous henchmen. Cutting also starts a relationship with Dominique Laurant (Joan Hackett), who may help him find Green.

What Works Well: The European cobblestones-and-trenchcoats aesthetics are a soothing throwback, and Joan Hackett's feisty presence - somewhere between naïveté and curious connivance - adds welcome animation. Patrick O'Neal is smooth-enough as the lethally cool Bond-wannabe type.

What Does Not Work As Well: A void occupies the space where the plot usually resides, director and writer Sheldon Reynolds all but abandoning the insurance fraud conspiracy and instead allowing good guy Cutting and bad guy Wilson to circle each other for 100 minutes. The action scenes are clunky, and the ending - a random assortment of layered lies - is an embarrassment.

Conclusion: The assignment is botched.

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