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Canada, 1973 (MIFF 1974)

Director: Donald Shebib

Originally titled Get Back, this Canadian film, directed by Donald Shebib, explores the tensions and rivalries between members of a gang planning an armed robbery. Five people come together to carry out the crime, but dissension, sexual intrigue and even death break up the partnership.

Will and Coker work in a nickel smelting plant north of Toronto, where they plan to snatch the payroll. Their group includes Ellie, Will's daughter, her boy-friend Chino, and a friend of his, Toby, who drifts in from surf-board riding in California. Immediately, though, things start to go wrong. The hero falls in love with his friend's girl; the old man, Coker, dies, and a feud develops between the two young men.

But the four of them stick to their original plan, despite the pressures that have broken the group apart. So their attempt at a final solution moves into its last, desperate act.

'There are several superlative performances; Shebib and his scriptwriter further flesh out the crime-doesn't-pay formula by allowing their small-time hoods to function only as individuals, and by treating their quirks and foibles with a rare degree of unsentimental humanism; and the images of the snow-bound robbery transcend even the ending of Losey's The Criminal in their bleak, suggestive power.'

Jan Dawson, Sight and Sound

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