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Where the money is

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Another con. Another sting. Another day.

"Why do you rob banks?" - interviewer
"Because that's where the money is." - famous stick-up artist and jailbird Willie Sutton

Henry Manning (Paul Newman) has come up with a new way to break out of prison: fake a stroke and get transferred to a nursing home. It's a perfect plan, except for one thing: the woman assigned to take care of him at the nursing home, Carol Ann McKay (Linda Fiorentino), has a plan of her own.

When the prison guards deliver Henry to the nursing home, Carol is immediately intrigued. After all, he was a famous bank robber; his life had all the mystery and fun that hers lacks. She hungers for excitement: she is bored with her job, her glory days as prom queen are long past and Wayne (Dermot Mulroney), her onetime prom king, just marks time on his night-shift job.

While Henry seems feeble and helpless, Carol suspects otherwise. Still, she can't quite prove that he's playing possum. She gets more and more frustrated until finally she goes to some very outrageous lengths to smoke him out. It's not that she wants to turn him in, instead she asks him if he might do her a favour in return for her silence: teach her his old line of work and then join her and her husband Wayne in a robbery of their own. But Henry has long since learned not to let his guard down, even for a minute. Especially when it comes to finding where the money is...

Also starring Susan Barnes as Mrs Foster, Anne Pitoniak as Mrs Tetlow, Bruce Macvittie as Karl, Irma St Paule as Mrs Galer, Dorothy Gordon as Mrs Norton, Rita Tuckett as Mrs Weiler and Diane Amos as Kitty. Written by E Max Frye, directed by Marek Kanievska.

Cinematic intelligence sources

  • Where the money is official movie site

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Honour among thieves.

Some crims have it, some don't. Those that do will turn out winners and grinners. Those that don't will head for The green mile.

Paul, once again, plays a good and honourable thief (With the heart of gold™) whose larrikin behaviour sets him apart from the run of the mill, just stealing because they're greedy kind of thief, thoughtfully provided in the granny-scaring Karl (no relation to Carl Stargher but what is it with bad guys named Carl?). His focus is damned good when he plays comatose Henry but it turns back into charming old Paul from his Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The sting days.

Not that Where the money is is a patch on either film but I had to mention them to get a better rating on the search engines.

Linda's characterisation comes across as something more than an ex-beauty queen turned nurse right from the beginning. You know that there's more to her than meets the eye, that there should be more to her life than she's getting. Henry is just the opportunity for Carol Ann to get away from the hell hole of a small town in which she's stuck. Dermot cruises along like the unambitious neanderthal he is, wanting nothing more than a pension and some grandkids, which makes him the perfect weak link in the chain. There's always a weak link. Without a weak link the chain can't break and all the mayhem can't fall out of the sky. Modern cinemagoers don't hold too well with accidents - they want someone to blame for life's misery - so Hollywood puts in weak links. Wayne is the weakest link.

The twist? Of course there's a twist, or maybe more than one, I decline to say, but the prime twist has just been exposed in the previous paragraph (Wayne is the weakest link). The Director of Intelligence told you that reviews contain spoilers, didn't he? And you had to ignore him, didn't you? Anyhoo, it's a good twist because all along he's wobbling back and forth like a crystal vase on a shelf and you can't wait to find out whether it settles back or falls off and shatters.

Where the money is doesn't make any great strides in the world of filmmaking but it certainly fills in an hour of your time. Let it be.

Security censorship classification

PG (Sexual references, low level violence)

Surveillance time

88 minutes (1:28 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 8 February 2001

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