In Dollars, clever bank-security guy Warren Beatty teams with a kooky call girl (Goldie Hawn) to steal from three disparate criminals, who have each chosen to store their ill-gotten gains within the bank's safe-deposit boxes. Beatty's Joe Collins is cool and methodical, and Hawn is a true delight as Dawn Divine, although the movie suffers from a lengthy run time and an ending that seems sort of a meaningless afterthought.
Collins works for a bank in Hamburg, Germany that is on the cutting edge of technological security. Among other things, the bank has - get this! - a 24-hour closed-circuit camera inside its safe, the better to monitor would-be evil-doers. Much is made of this awesome camera. Kind of makes one pine for the days when security cameras were a new thing.
At any rate, Collins and Divine have picked out three nefarious marks - a corrupt sergeant (Scott Brady), a Vegas mobster (Robert Webber), and a drug dealer (Arthur Brauss) - each of whom has deposited dirty money into a safe-deposit box in the bank. These boxes are much as they are today, although the bank employees very pointedly do not get to see what is in them; privacy, you see, is a big selling point for the bank wishing to attract more and more foreign interests.
The plan is to move the monies from the three boxes to Divine's own safety box. Plenty of planning goes into this, and it culminates with a wonderfully tense scene in which Joe, trapped in the safe, attempts the exchange. It's only a matter of time, though, before the various baddies discover what's happened, and there's a long, long chase scene - mostly on foot! - that eats up a chunk of film near the end of the movie.
Hawn is at her giggly, risqué best (this would be during her Laugh-In days), and Beatty stays true to type as the Man with the Plan, the cool cat. I particularly enjoyed how anxious Hawn's Divine is at her own role in the heist - for a phone call she must make, she has her lines written out longhand, and yet she still can only whisper them to the bank's manager, played by Gert Frobe (Auric Goldfinger).
The ending felt like it was lacking something, perhaps some panache or some cohesion. It's almost as if someone woke up in postproduction and realized there was no actual climax and then hastily wrote one in. In fact, after reading a synopsis on IMDb, I wondered if I'd seen the same ending - interestingly, the IMDb synopsis made even less sense than the one I saw.
Finally, there's the issue of the editing and/or direction - the former was too choppy, the latter too rapid. When your movie features an intricate plan, maybe it's best not to rush through every step, forcing your viewers to keep up. Even when we could keep up, it seemed as if some plot elements were missing entirely, leading to many questions left unanswered.
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