August 12, 2019  (Web Review)

The Silent Partner

Kino, 106 min., R, DVD: $19.99, Blu-ray: $29.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

The twist in the ingenious crime drama The Silent Partner (1978) comes early in the film. Miles (Elliott Gould), a teller in a mall bank during the busy Christmas season, figures out that the suspicious Santa (Christopher Plummer) is casing the branch for a robbery. So he plots his own heist, stealing money in an act that will be blamed on the robber, and he gets away with it… until the thief tracks him down. In the ensuing battle of wits, the thief terrorizes Miles, who responds with chess-like maneuvers. Canadian filmmaker Daryl Duke directs from future Oscar-winner Curtis Hanson’s adaptation of Anders Bodelsen’s 1968 Danish novel Think of a Number, bringing out solid performances from Gould, who adds fun touches to the easygoing teller emboldened by his successful caper, and Plummer, who brings a sense of menace to the brutal, violent thief. It’s a smart but slack thriller with little sense of tension in the escalating stakes. Duke is better with characters than suspense but these characters are excellent and they carry the film through to the final twist. Set and shot in Toronto, The Silent Partner costars Susannah York as a beautiful co-worker, John Candy in an early screen appearance, and French-Canadian actress Celine Lomez as a sexy love interest with an ulterior motive. Extras include audio commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell, and Nathaniel Thompson, and a new interview with Gould. Recommended. (S. Axmaker)