Frank (Stephen McHattie) has been away, but now he's back in this Quebec town and seeking his girfriend Janie (Susan George), yet when he arrives at the apartment they shared there's someone else living there and she is nowhere to be seen. As if that were not bad enough, nobody seems to be keen to tell Frank where she might be, so he heads for the local bar to ask about, though what he finds there is a bunch of fives aimed straight at his head. After being knocked out in the brawl, instead of waiting for medical attention he wanders off, still searching...
As the title might indicate, Tomorrow Never Comes was a rather miserable little thriller which could just as easily be seen as a character melodrama should the mood take you, or more likely should the supposed thrills fail to appeal. It was a co-production between Britain and Canada, hands across the Commonwealth and all that, that took the often downbeat tone of their nations' respective film productions to almost comical lengths, sometimes intentionally, at others accidentally. While much of this ground its way through a hopeless situation, every so often there would be a bit of business which took an ironic step back.
This was actually a hostage drama, the sort of affair which could be packed into an hour of television for one of the countless police procedurals which littered the small screen landscape during the seventies, and before and since, let's not forget. Our cop in charge was Oliver Reed as Jim Wilson, an inspector who is sick of the corruption in the region and is about to leave it all behind for the quieter area of his hometown, but there's just one last case he has to clear up here first, and that's the trouble with Frank. After spending the night wrapped around a tree trying to sleep off his concussion, Frank accosts a passing bellhop near the local hotel, and as (bad) luck would have it secures a lead.
What has happened to Janie while he was away? She has become the kept woman of the hotel's owner Lyne (playwright John Osborne making one of his rare acting appearances) and lives in a cabana in the grounds, a home which Frank tracks down quite quickly but in his distressed state manages to put the wind up almost everyone he meets, though whether he was overbearingly violent before or if the bump on the noggin was the cause of this is unclear. Whatever, he's off his rocker now as a passing policeman finds out when Frank grabs his gun and shoots him - by mistake, but it certainly doesn't help the situation any. Soon he has taken Janie hostage, not thinking straight, and marksmen are aiming at him through the Venetian blinds.
Say this for the producers of Tomorrow Never Comes, they did achieve an interesting cast of cult stars and famous faces, but the dialogue they had to recite sounded awfully contrived towards world-weariness mixed with brittle toughness. Reed took to that like a duck to water, spending most of the movie looking as though he was counting the minutes to his next drink, which in a strange moment he gets when Wilson tries to coax Frank out with beer (it's supposed to be a very hot day). Donald Pleasence had the most fun as a French-Canadian accented doctor, but Raymond Burr appeared late on with clockwork toys for everyone, the reason for which is obscure. Director Peter Collinson may have been best known for The Italian Job, but his forte was the cynical crime drama, so there were plenty of opportunities to send up the public who flock to the event like spectators, ghoulishly hoping for a killing. George started the movie at panic levels and degenerated into a full on breakdown, but Ollie held it together for glum, occasionally amusing, dragged out pessimism. Music by Roy Budd.