(1981)

Critic Reviews

78

Metascore

Based on 8 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Michael Mann's Thief is one of the most confident directorial debuts of its era, the product of an unprecedented amount of research and preparation.
90
Debut features are rarely this confident and accomplished, much less such a perfect blueprint of what to expect from a filmmaker down the line.
90
Newsweek
Brutal and precision-made, Thief is a high-tech crime movie that closes in on its subject with such relentless purpose that it approaches abstraction. Nothing enters Mann's frame that is not designed to be there: the expertise he honors in his criminal hero is mirrored by his own meticulous craftsmanship. He gets the job done--and blows you away while doing it. [30 Mar 1981, p.82]
88
It's one of those films where you feel the authority right away: This movie knows its characters, knows its story, and knows exactly how it wants to tell us about them.
80
Variety
Although there are points where he gets bogged down in the technical aspects of thievery, the film is a slick Chicago crime-drama with a well-developed sense of pathos running throughout.
75
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Realism by nature offends the dogmatic, and Michael Mann, in a writing-directing debut that makes one want to see his next movie instantly, is a devotee of the realistic in factual essentials, if not in esthetics. [27 Mar 1981]
60
Washington Post
It's the most exaggerated example yet of the abiding imbalance in modernist filmmaking, where an abundance of texture fails to conceal a minimum of substance, although it frequently makes the act of concealment pictorially exciting. [27 Mar 1981, p.C1]
50
Mr. Mann may well become a very good theatrical film maker but, among other things, he's going to have to learn how to edit himself, to resist the temptation to allow dialogue that is colorful to turn, all of a sudden, into deep, abiding purple. Time after time scenes start off well and slip into unintentionally comic excess.

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