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Bob Rafelson has stated that this is the final part of an informal trilogy he started with "Five Easy Pieces" and continued with "The King Of Marvin Gardens". In the three, Nicholson has now played son, brother and father. In this one, Nicholson is a wealthy wine dealer who has distanced himself from his wife with his philandering and from his son with his negligence. After he steals a diamond necklace with the help of a safecracker partner, Victor, things start coming apart. His wife sets out to interrupt what she thinks is another one of his weekend dalliances, but is really his trip to pawn the jewels. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
Another twist on the heist gone wrong movie. Alex (Nicholson) and Victor (Caine) plan to rob jewels from a house safe. The robbery goes off fine but Alex's wife leaves him and flees the abusive relationship with her son Jason (Dorff) accidentally taking the jewels. Alex and Victor give chase leading to a double-crossing finale of greed and deception.
This is not what it appears - to compare it to the many "heist gone wrong" movies around now is quite unfair. Rather, this is a character driven piece where the diamonds become the signpost to the characters' true form rather than the reason d'eitre for the whole film. Nicholson plays the main character who seems OK on the surface but is paranoid, greedy, abusive and frustrated underneath. Caine is more sleazy and obviously violent, while Lopez, Dorff and Davis all play supposed innocents sucked into the crime.
However the truth is that the film reveals the greed inside each of them, only Judy Davis as Nicholson's wife comes off as anyway sympathetic, but even she has a drinking problem. Lopez and Dorff display their greed gradually and their characters develop during the film to be as unpleasant as Nicholson. All the main performances are strong and the monstrous sides of their nature are easily believable. Any redemptions are tarnished with lingering greed, greed turns to suspicion turns to deception turns to murder. Human nature is an ugly thing and this element of it is played out at every level here.
As a crime thriller it doesn't work as well as it could have - it is often treated as a plot driver rather than the plot itself. However the characters and performances are all strong and it is this that drives the film. Depending on whether you want a crime thriller or a character piece with big names, you'll either be disappointed or pleasantly surprised.
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