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PETER YATES DIRECTS A SLOWBURN 'THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE'

Steven Keats in EDDIE COYLE Year: 1973 Rates: ****1/2

The miracle of Peter Yates's Crime Thriller THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE is how interesting an entire movie full of long conversations can be, especially when the title character's played by an aged and experienced Robert Mitchum... 

Turning in a natural, low-key yet still tightly-wound performance as a Boston career-criminal, who knows more last names than it's usual to get lost in within any Noir-style flick where a bunch of them are spouted left and right, and it takes several viewings to know exactly who's who... 

And while Eddie tries getting manipulative cop Richard Jordan to squash an approaching sentence, there's a trio of dispersed bank robberies led by a masked, business-like Alex Rocco (kidnapping vault-key-holding bank managers while their families wait home at gunpoint) while hot rod driving Steven Keats as "Jackie Brown" cautiously runs guns throughout the surrounding rural landscape... and his story seems like a movie all its own, with a beginning, middle and end. Meanwhile, the weak spot is Peter Boyle as a bartender ex-con who gets around too easily, making Mitchum's plight as useless as he himself had made all of Keats's busy-work via double-cross... then again this is the purpose of a group of eclectic crooks pushing each other out of a losing game (hence the titular irony of FRIENDS), making this Peter Yates's return to the more cerebral/existential heist template of ROBBERY but with a superior, groovy soundtrack (by Dave Grusin) that also blows away the hippie-jazz of BULLITT.

Robert Mitchum in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Steven Keats in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Alex Rocco in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Carolyn Pickman in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Steven Keats in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Steven Keats in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Steven Keats in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE w/ Margaret Ladd
Steven Keats in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Jane House in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Robert Mitchum in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE w/ Alex Rocco
Robert Mitchum in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE w/ Alex Rocco
Jane House in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Steven Keats in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Steven Keats in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE w/ Jack Kehoe
Mad Men daughter lookalike in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
A piece of action in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
A piece of action in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Richard Jordan with Steven Keats in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
A piece of action in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
A piece of action in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Carolyn Pickman in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Carolyn Pickman in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Carolyn Pickman in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Carolyn Pickman in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Richard Jordan and Robert Mitchum in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Peter Boyle and Robert Mitchum in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Robert Mitchum in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE
Carolyn Pickman in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE

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