THE GANGSTERS ALL HERE Live Tweet movie for Sat., Nov. 7: PLUNDER ROAD (1957)


Watching Plunder Road, I recalled the late film critic Roger Ebert’s four-star review of Brian DePalma’s excellent 1981 thriller Blow-Out. Describing how the lead character reconstructs a crime right in front of our eyes, Ebert wrote, “We [the movie’s audience] are challenged and stimulated: We share the excitement of figuring out how things develop and unfold, when so often the movies only need us as passive witnesses.”

Plunder Road gives you the same feeling of excitement. It’s the story of five men who pull off what is breathlessly described by radio newsmen as the biggest gold heist in history. The thrill of it is that we get to see it happen. The movie takes no shortcuts; its first 15 minutes show the robbery taking place in staggering detail. And it’s that attention to detail that keeps the movie riveting: Will the thieves pull off their intended goal of getting their stolen gold halfway across the country — where they can melt it down and throw the law off their trail — or will simple human frailty slip them up?


On a scale of 1 to 5 fannies, this movie definitely earns a 5. Most of the gangster movies we’ve shown up to now were filled with non-stop talk and endless exposition, but this movie never gives away any more than it has to, always leaving you eager to find out what happens next. This is thriller movie-making at its best.


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