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  Ronin What's In The Box?
Year: 1998
Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård, Jonathan Pryce, Sean Bean, Michael Lonsdale, Skipp Sudduth, Katarina Witt
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: When a group of professional criminals is brought together to steal a mysterious case, things don't go quite as they expected, leaving them unsure of who to trust.

A bit of a dad's movie this one. Sometimes a film gathers a cult following because of one sequence, and in the case of Ronin, it's the car chase that's the centre of attention. There are actually three car chases, a little one, a medium-sized one and a big one to finish with - it's the big one that's the best, a tremendous sequence of high speed auto-destruction through the streets of Paris.

And as for the rest? A fine, international cast is on display, headed by Robert De Niro. This probably won't be the film he's remembered for, but he does a pretty good job as the wry, capable, worldly Sam. It's all mean and moody, grey and gloomy (even the sunny scenes have a washed-out look); the uncredited David Mamet rewrote J.D. Zeik's script to compelling effect.

The story details get a little fuzzy, making this a good film for rewatching - it's that riveting Parisian chase that'll stick in your mind. It was probably the best work from John Frankenheimer since the 60's. Well, apart from Prophecy, of course. And we never do find out what's inside the case, as everything's centered on the machinations of the thriller plot. Also with: overemphatic music by Elia Cmiral.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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John Frankenheimer  (1930 - 2002)

American director, from television, who really shone in the sixties with intelligent suspense movies and dramas like Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, The Train, Seven Days in May, Seconds and Grand Prix, but lost his touch from the seventies onward, with titles like The Iceman Cometh, 99 and 44/100% Dead, Black Sunday, Prophecy, The Holcroft Covenant, 52 Pick-Up, Dead Bang and The Island of Dr Moreau standing out, not always for the right reasons. Thriller Ronin was his swan song.

 
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