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Odd, mysterious cartoony Nazi conspiracy thriller,
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This review is from: Marathon Man  [DVD] (DVD)
Marathon Man (1976) is an odd, adapted conspiracy thriller in which "the Division" (a US government intelligence agency) is engaged in a plot by a Nazi war criminal (Szell) played by Laurence Olivier to reclaim his precious diamonds in a secret briefcase which can only be opened by a special key.
You need to pay attention to the first 3 minutes of the film because if you miss it then you will miss the briefcase which is the subject of the film's fuss. The plot is fairly complex. The role that a marathon-loving graduate finds himself in (played by Dustin Hoffman) is an odd one but one brought about by a cartoony desire to get to the truth and familial circumstances (his brother played by Roy Schneider is involved in the plot).
Much can't be given away without spoiling the plot. This is a cleverly thought-out conspiracy and we learn the value of physical strength in torture, pain of history, and there is a spiel on whether "it is safe" - the "it" may refer to the diamonds or some other more substantial Nazi secret. Double-crossing is rife in the film. Of course, there are some great actors in this film (Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Schneider, William Devane). The issues for me were that, for all it's cleverness, the way this graduate gets involved is very cartoony, the ending is Olivier-iconic but a bit too cartoony (as is Szell), the scoring is a little perplexing and therefore there isn't any suspense in the film but more mystery and torture-porn.
Special features include a making of documentary. There is only one disc in this DVD.