STARRING Robert De Niro, Stellan Skarsgard, Jonathan Pryce, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone
DIRECTED BY John Frankenheimer
The good news: veteran director Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate) has rounded up an impressive international cast. The better news: ”We’re a bunch of very bad guys,” says Skarsgård (Breaking the Waves, Good Will Hunting). ”There are lots of betrayals and twists on twists.” The action spills onto the streets of Paris, where Frankenheimer promises ”the mother of all car chases.” The object of desire, in this case, is a suitcase. What’s in it? ”I’m not gonna say,” the director says. ”But a lot of people are willing to kill for it.” One person who knows what’s inside is David Mamet (The Spanish Prisoner), who contributed a full uncredited rewrite — an assignment that instigated a nasty Writers Guild arbitration. The result is a compromise that will credit both original scribe J.D. Zeik and (under a pseudonym) Mamet. ”It’s not a conspiracy,” Frankenheimer says. ”I’ve worked on movies where the writers were nominated for Oscars, and I never even met them.” (Moved to September)
THE LOWDOWN Anything by Frankenheimer is worth checking out. Unless it’s The Island of Dr. Moreau.