Driven by Duke Anderson's (Sean Connery) frustration at not having been able to use his safe-cracking skills to escape a ten-year stint, The Anderson Tapes opens with a wondrous evocation of how futuristic 1970s New York must have seemed to someone who had been imprisoned since the early 1960s. The main new ingredient in the urban landscape is video surveillance - but, since it's in the very nature of urban surveillance to remain unobtrusive, Lumet opts to portray a more recognisable New York, and then puncture it with cameras and recording devices tucked into the most unlikely nooks and crannies. It's partly this chronotopic taste for juxtaposing old and new technologies that makes the part of New York that we see seem so historical, but it also stems from a conscious choice on Lumet's part to clutter his mise-en-scenes with ancient objects, as if Joseph Cornell's tanks were translated into shots, or the film were simply the by-product of years of flanerie, trawling New York's down-and-out bric-a-brac stores and markets. The result is a city in which everything's changed and nothing's changed - the very definition of uncanny retro-futurism - in which surveillance is just invisible enough for Duke to believe that he can outwit it with his safe-cracking skills, which he brings to bear on the heist that forms the centrepiece of the film. Structured around an apartment complex straight out of Edith Wharton, this is co-ordinated by Duke and Tommy Haskins (Martin Balsam), a flamboyant antiques dealer, imbuing New York with something of the stately anqituity of the Old World - one of several touches that makes Connery's accent less incongruous than it might otherwise be. Perhaps surprisingly, then, there's little of the exquisite craftsmanship of traditional heist films. Instead, this crew is all about identifying and appraising craft, rather than embodying it - in another time and place, they'd be auctioneers - while Duke doesn't manage to successfully crack a single safe over the course of the heist. That doesn't really matter though, since the apartment complex is his safe, just as it's the main character in the film, a portmanteau of every space and surface that might look incongruous or ancient next to a video camera, or against the beeps and gurgles of Quincy Jones' electronic score.