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Scotland Yard's Jim Naboth (Stacy Keach) battled the bottle instead of London's seedy underworld and lost. But he finds one chance to get out of life's gutter when the mob kidnaps his ex-wife in a ruthless $1-million ransom scheme. Director Michael Apted tightens The Squeeze into a penetrating study of people under stress - and a walloping bloody, sexy detective caper in the mold of great British gangland thrillers like Get Carter and The Long Good Friday. He packs it with on-edge performances, starting with Keach (TV's Mike Hammer) as the hard-drinking cop who's no match for both booze and sadistic hoods - but is determined to free his ex. Co-starring are Edward Fox (The Day of the Jackal), David Hemmings (Blow-Up), Stephen Boyd (Ben Hur's chariot-racing villain) and, as the desperate kidnap victim who uses her sexuality as a weapon against her captors, lovely Carol White.
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The plot revolves around drunk ex-cop Stacey Keach trying to do a British accent. He's a good actor but his accent just sounds weird. Besides the accent though, he's got an ex-wife who is now married to a much nicer man with a lot of money. Like all women of this nature are want to do, she gets kidnapped with her daughter and held for ransom. Her new husband tells Stacey Keach about it sending Stacey out on the road to redemption and hopefully overcoming being such an alcoholic mess.
Admittedly, I make it all sound a bit trite but it's actually pretty good. The movie isn't overly stylized. It's very matter of fact. None of the camera shots are chosen to accentuate displays of bad behavior or taste. It's all surprisingly pleasant for a movie where a woman gets abused for a good portion of the running time.
I guess maybe in the end, that's the real flaw of the film. It's all so rather pleasant for such nasty subject matter. The situations get tense but the manner in which it's shot makes it feel like a rather risque episode of Master Piece Theater. I half expected Prince Charles or Diana Rigg to introduce it and ask me to fund PBS.
So, yeah, jokes aside, I recommend the movie. There's a plot. Character development. Stacey Keach. A line of great British character actors. A completely weird tone that is happy to whack you upside the head whenever. It was worth the 20 I spent on amazon for it.
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