This is another of those films that make me wish I had a little more cultural innocence. It’s now well-known that audiences famously walked out of theaters to miss a certain scene and then came back when they were sure it was over (I won’t disclose the scene to spare those who’ve not heard the story) and so I was sort of wincing in anticipation of it, bracing myself for it, through most of the movie. This kind of skewed my viewing a bit, I think, but also maybe heightened the tension, too. So the foreknowledge was both good and bad.
That said… this movie didn’t really need extra tension. It’s got plenty of its own! The last of the Nazis amuck in the diamond district of NYC. That’s all the tension you need. A dealer has an Auschwitz tattoo and recognizes the Nazi (and Olivier… has he ever been creepier?), the Nazi tapdances his way out of the conversation and the deal… a brother researching his father’s persecution by an American fascist (McCarthy) learns his brother isn’t who he thinks he is… crank, crank, crank. By the end of the film you’re spring-loaded and ready to blow like the water from the valves in the climactic scene.
This is mighty good stuff!
But I’d probably have walked out, too. OW!!!