Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Merry CrimesMas: Johnny Shaw on The Silent Partner
I am spending the holidays this year alone. No tree. No presents. No relatives. All by myself alone. And before I am showered with your precious pity, I am doing it happily by choice. I haven’t looked forward to a Christmas this much in years. As you may have guessed, I’m not that much of a holiday person.
Some people have a problem differentiating the stark difference between being alone and being lonely. I like people, I guess, but I love being alone. There’s no one’s company I enjoy more than my own.
If movies are an indication of real life (they aren’t), being alone for the winter holidays (or any holiday for that matter) is the worst thing that can ever happen to a person ever in their life ever. The depictions in film about the hardships of being alone on Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, etc. are tried and true. Maybe there’s something about all the supposed joyousness and festive spirit that bombards us during the time around Christmas. The idea that we’re being left out of this manufactured fun. And what location is ground zero for the holiday spirit? The mall, of course. That’s where Santa is.
What follows is a cat-and-mouse game between the two men that consistently dodges predictability. Both Reikle and the audience underestimate Miles at first, after all he’s a lonely loser. But soon we realize that he is more clever than we first thought. Maybe he’s not lonely, just alone.
The story becomes about the characters and their motivations. Implied but not stated, we are left to make up our minds about why the characters make the choices they do. A refreshing change from the spoonfeeding that many modern movies incorporate.
The Silent Partner stands as one of the more underrated Christmas movies, but also one of those under-the-radar crime films from the 1970s that deserves more love. Like The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three, Fat City, The Laughing Policeman and Night Moves (just to name some movies off the top of my head), these great crime films forever live in the shadows of films like The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon and The Conversation.
Happy Holidays! Now leave me alone so I can binge-watch the third season of Gomorrah.