Thursday, April 14, 2011

'The Eiger Sanction'

I watched Clint Eastwood's The Eiger Sanction ('75) yesterday in an attempt to quench a sudden 60's/70's action movie fix and, well, it's no Where Eagles Dare
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Eastwood plays a retired hitman turned art collector brought back into the game for one final job on the steep north face of the Eiger, the 13,000ft mountain in the heart of the Burmese Alps in Switzerland. 
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Of course, Eastwood's Dr. Hemlock doesn't know which climber is the target, and so this overbearing guessing game pervades the final act, which is rather anticlimactic if I say so myself.
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The Eiger Sanction has more twists than anybody could (or would) want, and it's this unstable footing combined with sluggish results that produces a thriller that's hardly compelling or convincing.
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Perhaps the story behind the scenes would have had more palpable danger, seeing as how the production was plagued by injuries, budgets and even deaths. Frank Staley, a cameraman confined to a wheelchair for a portion of his life at the result of the film, adamantly opposed Eastwood's decision to shoot the film on the Eiger from the outset. Needless to say, the two of them never worked together again. [C-]

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