This small-scale screen adaptation of Daniel Keene’s play is a tragicomic two-hander chiefly of interest for showcasing the fine performances of David Field and Syd Brisbane. However, since little attempt has been made to open up the material for the screen, “Silent Partner” remains dialogue-strewn with the most modest prospects for cinema release on its home turf and even less overseas. Extensive profanity will limit TV bookings.
Field and Brisbane convincingly portray two down-at-the-heels, none-too-bright, alcoholic Sydney types who lose what little money they have betting on greyhound racing. When the never-seen Mr. Silver mysteriously gives them the chance to race his dog, Silent Partner, they see an opportunity for untold wealth, but it’s no surprise that the dog fails to win his first couple races. The hopeless protags resort to doping the animal, with dire results. There’s some humor in the very slangy, Aussie dialogue, but time spent with these guys mostly seems like time wasted. A bright music track, with songs by Paul Kelly, enlivens the gloom somewhat.