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October 27, 2013

The Debt, Genre Films

by Brendan

Watching The Debt, a British movie that’s a few years old, starring Warren Clarke (you remember him playing Dim, one of Alex’s Droogs in A Clockwork Orange).  In that movie he ended up as a policeman, but he’s a crook in The Debt.  Clarke is 66 now, and I’ve seen him in movies from time to time; he’s always excellent, should be referred to as “the great Warren Clarke.”

The plot of the movie is, a safecracker decides to do one more job, in order to provide income for his family.  That’s not so much a plot as a genre — wonder how many movies have the plot, a crook does one last job, etc., etc.

Ben Affleck’s terrific The Town is a recent venture into that genre.  One last job.  The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is almost a “one last job” movie.  I’ll have to put my thinking cap on, maybe do some kind of search, haunt the online pages of IMDB, see if there’s a list somewhere of movies in this genre.  Oh, it just popped into my head: a Michael Mann movie from the 70’s, Thief, starring James Caan, James Belushi, and Robert Prosky (music by Tangerine Dream, notably).  One last job, but it doesn’t work out that way.

Interests me because of the whiff of desperation and hopelessness in “one last job” movies.  As a viewer, you know that things are going to go badly wrong in such a movie, that doing one last job is not going to work out the way the jobber plans, that he\she is going to be hauled into a net of pain.

Per Aristotle; “Tragedy is an imitation of an action, real, complete, and of a certain magnitude; it excites pity and terror in the viewer and creates a catharsis of these emotions.”

BTW, The Debt, with the great Warren Clarke, is a gripping movie; excites pity and terror, in least in me.

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