David Mamet takes this story of thieves along many twists and turns, some of which work and some of which don't. Gene Hackman plays the brilliant leader of a gang (Delroy Lindo, Ricky Jay & Rebecca Pigeon as Hackman's youngish wife), which pulls off complex heists for a despicable fence (Danny DeVito). After stiffing the gang on a jewelry robbery, DeVito forces the gang to go after a Swiss gold shipment and to use his nephew (Sam Rockwell) in the crime. No one trusts anyone and every step is shaded with the unexpected. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
Joe Moore takes a taxi about 14 minutes into the movie. The taxi is marked "Cape Ann Taxi" with the phone number 617-187-0156. Area code 617 is for metro Boston. See more »
In the first visit to the airplane, the boxes are correctly depicted as extremely heavy. But when the robbers pay a second visit, to pick up the real gold in the "foundry" containers, the boxes are wheeled around too lightly and effortlessly. See more »
You know why the chicken crossed the road? Because the road crossed the chicken.
Heist is written and directed by David Mamet. It stars Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell, Rebbecca Pidgeon and Ricky Jay. Music is by Theodore Shapiro and cinematography by Robert Elswit.
Joe Moore (Hackman) and his small band of thieves are "coerced" into taking on one last big job by their shifty fence Mickey Bergman (DeVito). But when Bergman's nephew Jimmy Silk (Rockwell) is sent along on the heist with them, it could prove to be a recipe for disaster?
The "one last job" theme is a familiar plot device in many a crime and noir picture, but as Mamet proves here, it can still remain fresh if given its own sheen. Divisive amongst Mamet's fans and seen as a lesser light in the director's neo-noir output, Heist improves greatly upon a second viewing. In fact it holds up as a clinically executed piece of noirish cinema, it's smart, crafty and laced with essence of cool.
You're a piece of work!
I came all the way from China in a matchbox.
Structured around twists and tricks, where nothing is ever as it seems
including the wonderfully ambiguous finale - Heist positively thrives
on the snap, crackle and pop of Mamet's dialogue, dialogue that comes trickling off the tongues of characters whose loyalties/dis-loyalties are never 100% certain. Quite often what is being said is in clipped format, where the meaning is different to what is actually being said, while visual exchanges, also, sometimes mean more than it appears at first glance. Make no bones about it, this is no ordinary caper movie, it's labyrinthine in plotting and the director toys with the conventions of the formula.
My MOFO is so cool when sheep go to bed they count him!
Visually Mamet and DOP Elswit keep the colours smooth, but they do throw in some interesting angles and use smoky lenses to accentuate the possibility of cloudy means and motives. Acting performances are mostly excellent. Hackman underplays it perfectly as a world weary crim who may or may not be one step ahead of the game? Lindo is muscular and cool, Jay a stoic side-kick, DeVito slimy and Pidgeon (Mamet's wife) provides layers as the fulcrum femme. Only real disappointment comes with Rockwell as the poisonous adder in the thieves nest. A few years away from becoming the great actor he is now, Rockwell here lacks a dangerous dynamism, a raw sexuality to really make the integral character work to its potential.
Elsewhere there's flaws, such as the key heist involving an aeroplane that stretches credibility to breaking point; a shame since the opening robbery that introduces us to the characters is brilliantly constructed, and the big "shoot-out" scene lacks the energy to really raise the pulse; but even within that scene is a great moment as DeVito's Mickey Bergman, in amongst the flying bullets, shouts out the question: "why can't we just talk?", why indeed? You see, in Mamet's badly under valued neo-noir, talk is everything. Beautifully so. 8/10
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