The Internecine Project


Reviewed by: Keith Dudhnath

Robert Elliot (James Coburn) is about to be appointed to the position of high-ranking government advisor. He has skeletons in his closet, and four people know about them. Robert devises a plan to have the four people kill each other, while he stays home and sips whiskey.

The Internecine Project has an interesting premise, but once this is understood by the audience, the film fails to deliver in every possible way.

Had it focused on meticulous planning, in a similar vein to The Day Of The Jackal, the lack of action wouldn't have been a problem. Had it comprised, like the Jason Bourne films, a few well-executed set pieces with surprisingly little actual plot, it would have been exciting. As it happens, it's neither meticulous nor exciting. James Coburn spends half the film sitting by the phone while his plan takes place in the most boring manner imaginable.

In the right hands, this total lack of interest could still have led to a slow, brooding film and an interesting character study. The direction and writing (and I'm particularly disappointed in the otherwise brilliant Barry Levinson) never allow this to happen.

For all the acting talent on show, they're never given a chance to be more than sub-Saved By The Bell one-dimensional stereotypes. It's certainly interesting to have no heroes to speak of in the film, but it would be nice if it wasn't so poorly handled that the audience simply doesn't care what happens to any of the characters.

With a better film, the ridiculous methods of killing and the tacked on denouement, would receive lengthy scorn. With The Internecine Project, I was just thankful that it meant the end was drawing ever nearer.

The only reason The Internecine Project gets more than one star is for its potential, and the (horribly failed) attempt to do something a bit different. It's ripe for a modern remake, if only because whoever got their hands on it couldn't make it any worse.

Reviewed on: 18 Jul 2005
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The Internecine Project packshot
A former secret agent plots to bump of people from his past to ensure he gets a high-ranking government post.
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Director: Ken Hughes

Writer: Barry Levinson, Jonathan Lynn, based on the novel by Mort W. Elkind

Starring: James Coburn, Keenan Wynn, Harry Andrews, Michael Jayston

Year: 1974

Runtime: 85 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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