Where the Money Is

Germany/USA/UK 1999

Reviewed by Kim Newman


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

Oregon, the present. Carol, a nurse in a home for senior citizens, cares for Henry Manning, a former bank robber who has been transferred from prison after suffering a stroke. Carol suspects Henry is faking his condition; when taking Henry out on a picnic with her husband Wayne, Carol pushes Henry's wheelchair into the river, forcing him to admit he has been shamming and plans an escape.

When the son of Henry's former criminal partner refuses to hand over his share of the proceeds of former robberies, Carol suggests the three of them team up to rob a bank depository in the area. Henry responds that they should hijack the armoured car which makes cash deliveries to the depository. The three pull off the plan, though Wayne makes a mistake and broods about it, sensing Carol has transferred her allegiance to Henry. When Henry is picked up for transfer to a prison hospital, Carol rescues him. Wayne tries to cut a deal selling Henry out to the police; Carol sides with Henry. Henry and Carol escape the police by driving a car into the river and emerge elsewhere to continue their criminal careers.


This addition to the slim Marek Kanievska filmography comes 13 years after his second directorial credit, the ill-received film of Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero, and 16 years after his acclaimed debut Another Country. Whether he has been toiling all this time on fruitless projects or living out in the woods in Terrence Malick-like seclusion until the memory of Less Than Zero faded is hard to gauge from this entirely acceptable if fairly straight job of work. The sort of modest little film that was a Hollywood staple until the blockbuster era, Where the Money Is still somehow required the services of nine producers and executive producers (including Ridley and Tony Scott) to get made.

Practically a three-hander, the film affords a fine late opportunity for Paul Newman to exert blue-eyed charisma and gravelly charm as the spry senior citizen Henry who fakes drooling insensibility but is secretly scheming all the while, as revealed by a few sharp looks from those extraordinary orbs even as the mouth maintains the proper degree of slackness and the hands shake with directed palsy. Recent Newman vehicles (Nobody's Fool, Twilight) have played with his image, ruefully suggesting that while he may not be the man he was he's still more of a man than most. This amiable caper movie naturally harks back to the days of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973); yet again, the star is the calm-headed heist man who would rather talk his way out of a situation - shaking off a couple of cops by pretending to be a born-again Christian - than use more brutal methods. When accomplice Wayne reaches for the shotgun as a guard is about to stumble on to the robbery scheme, Henry keeps talking and trusts Wayne's wife Carol to get bloodlessly past this obstacle, a neat little suspense scene that also shows how the relationships are changing.

The film also picks up from The Last Seduction by making good use of the too often squandered talents of Linda Fiorentino. Fiorentino's turn isn't a re-run of the criminal mastermind she played in John Dahl's acclaimed neo-noir, but it does call on some of the grit and cool of that role to suggest the inner growth of the kindly but discontented Carol. She also pulls off admirably a growing semi-romantic, semi-daughter-like fixation on Henry, in an amusing but tasteful lap dance and a clever coda which finds her in a jeweller's store, coaxing a clerk into helping her remove her wedding band in celebration of a divorce and also distracting the man while Henry (now posing as her father) can case the merchandise. Dermot Mulroney, stuck with the third-wheel role as Wayne, continues to do the same as he did in Copycat and My Best Friend's Wedding: avoid upstaging the leading lady while making room for character turns that rob him of any pretence at being the leading man.

Where the Money Is remains resolutely a small film, focused on its central trio and their one night of crime to the exclusion of all else. There are nice little cameos from the residents of the old folks' home, but no one really intrudes into the world of Henry, Carol and Wayne. Carol is allowed unbelievable latitude in repeatedly taking a convict out of the home, and a potential major plot thread is left unexplored as the son of Henry's old partner is allowed to get away with stealing the crook's ill-gotten gains. Anonymously set in Oregon so inexpensive Canadian locations can be used, and directed with tact rather than flair, this is a welcome entertainment, effortlessly the best thing its director has done. But Kanievska will have to pick up the pace if he's to establish anything like a career or, better yet, a personality.


Marek Kanievska
Ridley Scott
Charles Weinstock
Chris Zarpas
Christopher Dorr
E. Max Frye
Topper Lilien
Carroll Cartwright
E. Max Frye
Director of Photography
Thomas Burstyn
Garth Craven
Samuel Craven
Dan Lebental
Production Designer
André Chamberland
Mark Isham
©IMF Internationale Medien und Film GmbH & Co. Prduktions KG
Production Companies
Intermedia Films and Pacifica Film Distribution present
a Scott Free/IMF production
Executive Producers
Tony Scott
Guy East
Nigel Sinclair
Chris Sievernich
Moritz Borman
Beau E.L. Marks
Robert E. Norton
Line Producer
François Sylvestre
Associate Producer
Hilarie Roope Benz
Production Co-ordinator
Robert Boulos
Unit Production Managers
Beau E.L. Marks
François Sylvestre
Unit Managers
Stéphane Fréchette
2nd Unit:
Réjean Bouchard
Michel Pelletier
Jim Lévesque
André Couillard-Després
Martin LaCroix
Michel Moreau
Mélanie Lebel-Morin
François Des Rochers
James Irwin
Christian Pritchen
Joana Stosik
Location Manager
Anita Bensabat
Location Consultant
Pierre Blondin
2nd Unit Director
Stan Barrett
Assistant Directors
Bettiann Fishman
Lyda Blank
Josée LaChance
Bethan Mowat
Agniezka Poninska
Peter Soldo
2nd Unit:
Sean Dwyer
Marie Cayer
Joanne Tolley Harwood
2nd Unit:
Kathryn Buck
Randi Hiller
Elite Casting
Rosina Bucci
Mike Bucci
Bert Sharp
2nd Unit Director of Photography
John Bartley
Camera Operators
Tom Fillingham
Marvin Midwicki
Nathalie Moliavko-Visotzky
2nd Unit:
Raymond Brounstein
Steadicam Operators
François Daignault
Brad Hruboska
Motocam Operator
2nd Unit:
Cotton Mather
Special Visual Effects
Art Director
Martin Gendron
Set Designer
Jean-Pierre Paquet
Caroline Alder
Russell Moore
Costume Designer
Francesca Chamberland
Key Make-up
Gillian Chandler
Make-up Artists
Jacques Diamond
Michel Bertrand
Key Hairdresser
Jacquie Rahal
Joelle Monty
Sandro Di Giancarlo
Digital Main Title Sequence
Pacific Title/Mirage
Additional Music
Roger Neill
Music Performers
Mark Isham
Roger Neill
Richard Ruttenberg
Sam Sheppard
Music Supervisors
Tim Sexton
Dawn Solér
Music Co-ordinator
Karen Kloack
Music Producers
Mark Isham
Roger Neill
Stephen Krause
Music Editor
Tom Carlson
Music Recordist/Mixer
Stephen Krause
"You Might Think", "My Best Friend's Girl" - The Cars; "Harleys and Horses" - Ron Keel; "Angel on the Run" - Scott Eversoll; "My Heart Belongs to You" - William Joseph Martin; "Tell Me Some Lies" - Mersh Bros Band; "Lie to Me" - Johnny Lang; "Sexy" - Barry Omarr, Stephen Lang
Sound Design
Leslie Shatz
Sound Recording
Michel Charron
Re-recording Mixers
Leslie Shatz
Chris David
Re-recording Engineer
Michael A. Morongell
Supervising Sound Editor
Patrick Dodd
Dialogue Editor
Francesca Dodd
Sound Effects Recording
Christopher Emerson
ADR Mixer
Paul J. Zydel
Margie O'Malley
Marnie Moore
Ben Conrad
Frank Rinella
Technical Advisers
Barbara Reid
Antonietta Cocciolo
Linda Gosselin
Stunt Co-ordinator
Stan Barrett
2nd Unit:
Mickey Gilbert
Stanton Barrett
Film Extract
The Fan (1996)
Paul Newman
Henry Manning
Linda Fiorentino
Dermot Mulroney
Susan Barnes
Mrs Foster
Anne Pitoniak
Mrs Tetlow
Bruce MacVittie
Irma St. Paul
Mrs Galer
Michel Perron
Dorothy Gordon
Mrs Norton
Rita Tucket
Mrs Weiler
Diane Amos
Dawn Ford
Cheryl, wife 2
T.J. Kenneally
Farwell Welk
Roderick McLachlan
Lloyd, the cop
Bill Corday
grounds worker
Gordon McCall
Robert Brewster
Eric Hoziel
Charles Doucet
Arthur Holden
Frank Fontaine
Richard Jutras
Janine Thériault
girl 1
Frankie Faison
security guard
Philip Preten
cop 2
Vlasta Vrana
jewelry store employee
Heather Hiscox
TV announcer
Michael Brockman
FBI agent
Emily Wachtel
Jayne Eastwood
Warner Bros Distributors (UK)
7,956 feet
88 minutes 24 seconds
Dolby Digital
Colour by
DeLuxe Laboratories
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011