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August 29, 2004

Michael Caine in 'The Statement'

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There are three actors in the world whose appearance in a film guarantees my watching it: Sean Connery, Michael Caine, and Andy Garcia.

The reviews on "The Statement" ran the gamut from "great" to "tedious."

But when one of my favorite actors is in a film, it's automatically good even if it's bad.

So Michael Caine made this one good from the get-go.

The movie explores the circumstances of a round-up of Jews in a small town in Vichy France by the Milice - the German-directed French police force - in June, 1944.

Fifty years later, some of those former Milice have not only escaped punishment, but risen to the very highest levels of the French government.

Tilda Swinton, as always superb, plays a French judge appointed to find these hidden, high-ranking government officials newly charged with crimes against humanity.

The cast is superb and includes, in addition to Caine and Swinton, Charlotte Rampling, Alan Bates and Jeremy Northam.

This is the first time I've seen Michael Caine play a role in which he's not the good guy but, rather, just the opposite: a war criminal.

He's old now, stooped, pale, bent, not the Alfie of yore, nor the steely protagonist of "The Ipcress File," but he's still superb.

Charlotte Rampling, no longer the impossibly beautiful, threatening vixen of yore, likewise is irresistible.

And Tilda Swinton, well, her intensity is enough to cut through metal.

Can you tell I enjoyed the film?

August 29, 2004 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


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