The Plot Against Harry (1969/1989)

The Plot Against Harry

Dir. Michael Roemer, 1969, or maybe 1989

Released in 1989, two full decades after it was made, Wes Anderson listed The Plot Against Harry as one of his ten favourite movies about New York, saying it was very gentle and non-violent. It’s an appropriately bizarre choice from a man who gave the same distinction to New Jack City, a film he had never actually seen.

Martin Priest plays Harry Plotnick, a gangster who is released from prison. Although he maintains his mafia ties, Harry decides to start over after he is unexpectedly reunited with his grown children, and then diagnosed with an enlarged heart. Though he tries to make a new life as a caterer, he can’t quite escape his past.

The Plot Against Harry is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more atmosphere than story, and its dated 1960s setting gives the film a moody, psychedelic film like nothing else out there. My mom, who was a Jewish teenager in the 1960s, said it was very much like that. B+

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