Where The Money Is
Henry Manning (Paul Newman) has come up with a new way to break out of prison: fake a stroke and get transferred to a nursing home. It’s a perfect plan, except for one thing: the woman assigned to take care of him at the nursing home, Carol Ann McKay (Linda Fiorentino), suspects that he is merely feigning the malady.
When the prison guards deliver Henry to the nursing home, Carol is immediately intrigued. After all, he was a famous bank robber; his life had all the mystery and fun that hers lacks. She hungers for excitement; she is bored with her job, her glory days as prom queen are long past, and her husband just marks time on his night-shift job.
While Henry seems feeble and helpless, Carol questions otherwise. Finally she goes to some outrageous lengths to smoke him out. It’s not that she wants to turn him in. Instead, she asks him if he might do her a favor in return for her silence: teach her his old line of work, and then join her and her husband in a robbery of their own.
Throughout the years there have been many films that feature thieves, cons and rogues. Several are even on my personal list of favorites, including “The Sting” and “Bedtime Story.” But the trouble with these films is their ability to glamorize a life in crime.
Years ago I viewed “Das Boot.” This German film followed the exploits of a German sub during WWII. Brilliantly made, the production showed me the power of the medium of film. I found myself nearly rooting for the occupants of this submarine. They were the enemy, yet, because it personalized the crew, I wanted them to escape detection. Once again, film is a powerful force. I believe in the case of “Where The Money is,” the depiction of stealing without consequences is unconscionable. The movie glamorizes people unconcerned with the rules of society. Their own rules take precedence. That’s not exactly an ethical message.
Although “Where The Money Is” is well made and, as always, Newman is fun to watch, the misuse of God’s name by each of the lead characters and their amoral attitude about robbing an armored truck, which endangers several people, makes this unsuitable for family viewing. While my Video Alternative concerns a former thief, he has reformed and attempts to prevent further burglaries. Also, it sends the message that, while he now lives well due to his past life, every time a theft occurs he automatically becomes a suspect. This is the price he pays for a once crooked lifestyle.