Watch Now: THE ANDERSON TAPES
Revered American filmmaker Sidney Lumet never shied away from being political in his filmmaking, using his chosen artform as a mirror, so that society could be confronted with its unflattering reflection. From his poignant critique of the racially biased criminal justice system in the 1957 courtroom drama 12 Angry Men to his eerily prophetic take on media consumption in the Academy-Award-winning black comedy Network (1976), Lumet was no stranger to hitting his audiences with hard truths. So, it should come as no surprise that he would helm the film adaptation of Lawrence Sanders’ 1970 novel The Anderson Tapes. With a screenplay written by Frank Pierson, Lumet’s movie version follows criminal Duke Anderson (portrayed by Sean Connery) who quickly goes back to his old ways after spending a decade in prison. His endgame is to rob an entire building in Manhattan, but he is unaware of being under surveillance.
The Anderson Tapes marked Sean Connery’s departure from his role as James Bond, while also being Christopher Walken’s first major motion picture (his first three movie roles were in independent films). Because of the social commentary on the prevalence of surveillance in American society, Lumet’s crime film manages to not only be prescient, but also transcend the heist genre. After all, the theme he assigned to this film was one that would then shape all of his decisions as a filmmaker and storyteller during the creative process. And according to his book Making Movies, the theme for The Anderson Tapes was “the machines are winning”.