What’s in your wallet?
To start with, London-based architect Stephen Booker (Martin Sheen, The Double) gets some bad news: their latest job bid–and last hope–has been rejected, and Booker’s company is therefore effectively finished. Hello, unemployment.
The news couldn’t have come at a worse time, as Stephen’s bank overdraft is creeping up past thirty five thousand pounds, renewal fees are due at his children’s posh private school, and his wife (Susannah York, Battle of Britain) has decided to go into the interior decorating business, which requires a hefty chunk of startup capital. Adding insult to injury, Stephen finds that he’s overqualified for the few jobs available in a very inhospitable economic climate.
As luck would have it, independent business impresario Mike Daniels (Albert Finney, Two for the Road) very much requires a man with Stephen’s particular skills set and agrees to pay handsomely upon completion of the job, which—aside from some advance prep work—will take all of one weekend.
Stephen’s mission, should he choose to accept it: employ his specialized knowledge of structural floor plans in order to help Daniels and a handful of associates to negotiate London’s labyrinthine sewer system and tunnel into the basement vault of an international securities bank.
Loophole benefits from a solid cast (including a young Jonathan Pryce, The Age of Innocence) and competent direction by John Quested (Philadelphia, Here I Come), but the longer it wore on, the more nagging certain questions became: Who am I rooting for here, and why?
While Daniels and his crew seem like nice enough—if criminally-inclined—blokes, it’s Stephen that’s supposed to elicit sympathy, as a hard-working family man, struggling to meet his obligations. Of course, Stephen does have options, like selling the family mansion, sending his children to school with commoners, and giving up his membership to the exclusive country club—at least while he’s between jobs.
But since he refuses to even consider making such lifestyle changes, poor Stephen feels he has no choice but to throw in his lot with a gang hell-bent on stealing other people’s money. Now maybe if I were among society’s one-percenters, I’d empathize, but as a working stiff, myself? Nah. So that leaves one slim motivation for following this film to the end: finding out whether or not this gazillionth band of thieves will pull off their heist. Meh.
And while we’re on the subject, I won’t be a spoiler, but I will say that the wrap-up here is so jarringly ham-handed that it suggests studio meddling as a result of focus group results. Regardless, it has the effect of transforming Loophole from a fair enough time-passing diversion to a nasty little prank pulled upon its loyal viewers.
Kino Lorber brings this little known British import to Blu-ray in a fine 1.78:1/1080p print, sporting bright colors and strong detail. The audio demands here aren’t particularly complicated and the 2.0 DTS Master Audio track does quite nicely. Bonus features include audio commentary by Quested, with film maker Adam Schartoff (Pulling Focus) and the movie’s original trailer.
Gotta lot of laundry to fold? Put Loophole on—the less you pay attention, the smarter it seems.
This film self-destructs in 105 minutes.