- Movie Rating -

The Holcroft Covenant (1985)

| October 18, 1985

One of the few talents that I pride myself on is my ability to keep up with a complicated plot either in books, on television or in the movies.  The Holcroft Covenant was a challenge even to my perceptive brain.  It has a plot so needlessly overcomplicated that the characters in the movie had to stop and explain it to each other every five minutes so that we in the audience could keep up.  Or maybe it was so that the actors could keep up.  Who can say?

The movie stars Michael Caine as Noel Holcroft whose father was member of Hitler’s inner circle.  After the old man’s death, he is told about a covenant that his father was involved in that would move a fortune worth $4,000,000,000 (that’s four billion) that would be used to help out several families who were victims of Nazi crimes.  Noel has always hated his father and so the news about the covenant is a strange revelation.  His mother (Lili Palmer) suspects that the money is designed to reignite a new Nazi Empire.

Naturally, such a large sum of money draws a lot of interest, and unfortunately results in a lot of dead bodies which Noel’s escort Helden von Tiebolt (Victoria Tennant), who is the daughter of a Nazi general, has to keep reminding him means that lives are at stake.  At one point the two meet secretively in a church where they not only engage in a long-winded re-explanation of the plot but engage in a quiet back and forth banter that would embarrass the writers of “Dragnet.”

The problem with this movie is that it keeps opening new doors, introducing new characters and taking the viewer down blind alleys.  About halfway through, I gave up since I knew that nothing that I was being told was solid information.  The movie takes every plot element and turns it around to some secret revelation that means nothing.  The whole movie is filled with double-identities, hidden agendas, back-reverses, forward-entendres and double-crosses.  It’s like a hall of mirrors without an exit door.

The whole third act of this movie is a complete mystery to me because I gave up trying to figure anything out.  What speeches remained were just exercises in randomness as Noel tries to make sense of senselessness.  I give Michael Caine some credit.  He tried to keep some sanity in the middle of all of this nonsense and turn in an effective performance but he couldn’t save it.  I don’t even think that he could explain it.  I’d like to see him try.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Drama