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Eddie Coyle is an aging criminal who is facing another bit in the joint. He meets with a cop, Foley and is willing to trade information if Foley can bury Eddie’s up coming charge. At the same time Eddie is playing middle man and is supplying guns to a gang of bank robber friends of his. Coyle gives the cops some good info that leads to a bust but the Cops want more if Eddie wants to stay out of jail. He’s in a bad spot with not a lot of options. We stay with him to see how it will play out.
CB liked this movie a lot. It takes you into the no bullshit life of low level crime. It’s not rocket science. Peter Yates who directed Bullit takes his time in this one and doesn’t force it. He strips it down to the reality of this life. No flash and dash. I love this style of film making. He had a great story to work with. It’s based on the George V Higgens book. Victor J Kemper’s camera work catches and enhances the bleakness of the story. Dave Grusin sprinkles in some nice 70’s soundtrack. I loved the Boston locations. We even get to go to the Boston Garden and catch a Bruins game and “Greatest hockey player in the world, number 4 Bobby Orr”.
The underplayed performances are great. Peter Boyle and Richard Jordan and the rest of the of the supporting cast are perfect. No pretty boys in this one. But when CB is talking under played, Robert Mitchum is the actor at the top of the list. His Eddie Coyle is as truthful a performance as you can get. CB was actually pulling for him. That’s how much I connected with the character. He’s a real guy. In one particular scene where he and his wife are in the kitchen, Eddie gets a little frisky. Great stuff. No Hollywood romance bullshit here. Mitchum gets the CB award for one of the best ever.
If you are looking for a fast paced, action film grab something else. If you are looking for a real gritty non sentimental film, grab this. It’s slow and it grows on you long after it’s over. You actually think there was a real Eddie Coyle. There probably was.
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