Inside Job – Rediscovering ‘Money Movers’ (Australia 1978 – 92 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - July 07, 2015
Inside Job – Rediscovering ‘Money Movers’ (Australia 1978 – 92 mins)

The gripping and twisty 1978 heist flick ‘Money Movers’ is the sort of movie that Australia excelled in at the time. Fast-paced, naturally acted and realistically shot, it wastes no time in setting up its riveting plot, and puts a vice-like grip on the viewer right from the opening scene.

Head of Security Eric Jackson, and his brother Brian (Terence Donovan and Bryan Brown) plan to rob their firms counting house to the tune of $20 million, unaware that local kingpin Henderson (Charles Tingwell) is also intent on doing so. Suspecting that a new employee; Leo Bassett (Tony Bonnor) may also be in on the operation, Eric uses his security skills to find out for sure who is trying to muscle in on his plan. After being captured and tortured by Henderson’s men, Eric reluctantly agrees to cut Henderson in on the take. Unfortunately for Eric, the robbery is interrupted by fellow employee and ex-cop; Dick Martin (Ed Devereaux), leading to much bloodshed and casualties on both sides.

Based on a 1972 novel by Devon Minchin, ‘Money Movers’ is one of those largely forgotten Aussie movies, but it’s a fantastic film, successfully mixing noir with exploitation. In a rare lead role Terence Donovan is superb as Eric, a smart and tough ex racing driver now stuck in a bored marriage. Donovan went on to have smaller roles in the acclaimed pictures ‘Breaker Morant’ (’80) and ‘Smash Palace’ (’81) before settling into television. Future Aussie superstar Bryan Brown impresses as Donovan’s hot-headed brother Brian, and Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell plays his rare villain role with a quiet menace. Sexy Candy Raymond is also good as a devious former employee, and Ed Devereaux excels as the tough ex-cop Dick Martin.

Bruce Beresford directed the movie with much energy and flair, although he had far greater success that year with the coming-of-age drama ‘The Getting of Wisdom’. Beresford would later forge a successful career in Hollywood, beginning with ‘Tender Mercies’ in 1983 and peaking with ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ in ’89. He also wrote ‘Money Movers’ excellent non-PC screenplay, while regular collaborator Donald McAlpine provided the realistic cinematography.

This fast moving thriller has many outstanding moments, including a handcuffed Eric fleeing his captors and almost kicking his way to freedom. But it’s the scene that follows that is the most memorable, when Eric has his little toe cut off by a pair of bolt-cutters in a brutally realistic scene. The climactic robbery is also very exciting and superbly staged, putting the viewer right among the bloody action.

With plentiful shootings, fights and shotgun blasts, ‘Money Movers’ is a brutal, bloody and quite brilliant crime flick, and with no dull moments in the entire film, is essential viewing for lovers of tough, gritty thrillers.

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