Anyone who's read Big Screen Boston knows that crime movies make up a huge chunk of the better Boston movies. The Brattle is showing a bunch of them over the last half of October.
There's the chance to see some rarely screened movies here. The Friends of Eddie Coyle got some attention this year when it finally came to home video, and it starts off the series on Oct. 15. Based on George V. Higgins' amazing book of the same name--find me another book in which the dialogue is so good and so adroit at advancing the plot--it's the best movie ever made in Boston. If the Brattle is showing the same pristine print I showed last year at the Coolidge, and it appears they are, it is not to be missed.
The Brink's Job, a Runyonesque caper comedy based on a real 1950s robbery, hasn't shown very often since its 1978 release, and it shows Oct. 17. That's the same day the sometimes stirring and sometimes silly original Thomas Crown Affair plays (alas, all the movies are single-admission in this series; no double features). The 1968 Crown is a real movie-theater movie, as is the same year's The Boston Strangler (Oct. 28). Both were inspired by the split-screen experimental films at Expo '67. Strangler has little resemblance to what really happened in the Albert DeSalvo case, but its storytelling is very interesting.
The series has a tie-in with a short-story anthology edited by Dennis Lehane, so of course he's represented, with Clint Eastwood's overrated Mystic River (Oct. 26), which missed the sarcastic streak to Lehane's Boston, and Ben Affleck's much more authentic Gone Baby Gone (Oct. 25). Of course, the most famous recent example of Boston noir, Scorsese's The Departed (the series closer on Oct. 29), is deservedly here, too.
The remaining two films, both of which I like a lot, are a bit out of place. The David Mamet duo of The Spanish Prisoner and Spartan (Oct. 27) are both able reminders of the days when Mamet lived here and shot a chunk of his smart movies here. But each takes place only partially within Greater Boston, and they don't necessarily have a strong sense of place. The series would have been better served by the more apt Monument Ave., which doesn't just fit the set's theme. It's also a powerful movie that rips at the heart of this tribal city.
To order the book: