9 out of 10


Modern Day "Maltese Falcon"

The CIA, the IRA, the RUssian Mafia, you name them, everyone wants one thing... ...Paul Chiarelli's lunchbox? Well, at least that's what it looks like handcuffed to the bald double of Paul Chiarelli. And bearing in mind that the IRA have, in real life, attempted to assassinate a British judge by booby-trapping his garden sprinkler during a drought hosepipe ban and risked life and limb to blow up the British Prime Minister's garden swing, perhaps this is more credible than it might at first seem.

Robert De Niro joins a group of Post-Cold War redundancy victims from the various spy organizations in a scramble across France (nice change from the US) as the box changes hands with backstabbing and double-dealing at every street corner as everyone tries to grab the box for themselves.

THis is like the very best of the old Cold War spy thrillers and features the most spectacular and brilliantly planned car chases I have ever seen.My only criticisms of the film are firstly the stunning repetitiveness with which the Russian Mafia always turn up at the most inconvenient time for themselves (one actually feels almost sorry for them by the end of the film) and the overbearing, excessively dramatic music which is so needlessly heavy as to be irritating.

By the way, I'll guarantee that you'll never actually guess what's in the box!

Almost a 10 - Utterly riveting

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett