Friday, April 22, 2016

The Wilby Conspiracy (1975)

Director: Ralph Nelson

Writers: Rod Amateau, Harold Nebenzal, Peter Driscoll

Composer: Stanley Myers

Starring: Sidney Poitier, Michael Caine, Nicol Williamson, Prunella Gee, Saeed Jaffrey, Persis Khambatta, Rijk de Gooyer, Rutger Hauer, Patrick Allen, Joe De Graft, Archie Duncan, Abdulla Sunado, Helmut Dantine, Peter Pearce

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  In the fight for freedom, you have to break all the rules.

Plot:  Having spent 10 years in prison for nationalist activities, Shack Twala is finally ordered released by the South African Supreme Court but he finds himself almost immediately on the run after a run-in with the police. Assisted by his lawyer Rina Van Niekirk and visiting British engineer Jim Keogh, he heads for Capetown where he hopes to recover a stash of diamonds, meant to finance revolutionary activities, that he had entrusted to a dentist before his incarceration. Along the way, they are followed by Major Horn of the South African State security bureau and it becomes apparent that he has no intention of arresting them until they reach their final destination.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Sure.

Good flick.  The performances are solid, locations, tension, story, and on down the line.  People die and it's not always the bad ones.  It's a cynical film, and rightly so, that shed light on the current state of South Africa and the brutality of it all.  There's a lot of deception going on and at every level, some of which you don't realize until the end.  That's a major plus.  The film spends most of the time with Poitier and Caine on the run until they have to retrieve a large stash of diamonds.  Then the picture goes into heist mode and then back to being on the lam, all the while being pursued, and continuously intercepted, by Major Horn (nastily and brutally played by Nicol Williamson).  Rutger Hauer shows up in one of his earliest roles, his first non-Dutch picture.  There's an awful lot to like in this film.  It's engaging from the start and it rarely lets up.  The MGM DVD delivers it in non-anamorphic widescreen with the sole extra, the fullscreen trailer.  You can pick it up on Amazon for $4 and free shipping.  It's definitely worth it.

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