Independent Lens: Season 8, Episode 18

Stolen (20 Mar. 2007)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 76 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 8 user | 17 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

In March of 1990, two thieves dressed as Boston police officers gained entrance to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston Massachusetts and successfully executed the largest art ... See full summary »

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Title: Stolen (20 Mar 2007)

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Storyline

In March of 1990, two thieves dressed as Boston police officers gained entrance to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston Massachusetts and successfully executed the largest art heist in modern history. Among the thirteen priceless works stolen was Vermeer's "The Concert" one of only 35 of the masters surviving works. Not a single one of the works has been recovered. STOLEN is a full exploration of the Gardner theft, and the fascinating, disparate characters involved: from the 19th century Grand dame Isabella Gardner to a private detective obsessed with finding the art to a terrorist organization with a penchant for stealing Vermeers. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary

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Unrated
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20 March 2007 (USA)  »

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Box Office

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$6,250 (USA) (21 April 2006)

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$289,773 (USA) (21 September 2012)
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User Reviews

 
Absorbing and Accomplished
14 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Stolen" is a fascinating film: it's partly a thriller, partly a tale of obsession, and partly an unstuffy art history seminar. It's also a portrait of an independent woman of means at the turn of the twentieth century who has strong ideas about what a masterpiece is—and how it should be seen by the world. As this absorbing and accomplished film unfolds, from the audacious heist of numerous masterworks from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, including Vermeer's "The Concert," to the efforts of art detective Harold Smith to find them, the viewer is utterly drawn in. Will the mystery callers come up with hard leads for Smith to follow? Did the Irish Republican Army (IRA) play a role in the theft? Are the stolen paintings closer than we think? Why does Vermeer's art seem to have such power over us? And what does it mean if a beloved work of art is never seen again?

"Stolen" is unfurled through a varied and variable cast of characters: writers, scholars, ex- cons, not quite reliable informants (are they charlatans?), and a loquacious, captivating museum guard. All are eminently watchable as they spin out theories of human nature, the criminal mind, and what compels people to obsess about art. The film is rich on many levels and its weaving together of themes and personas is achieved with style and grace. Will the paintings be found? Will Mrs. Gardner's dream for her personal museum be restored? You'll be eager to see how the film's central mystery is resolved. But "Stolen" also explores many other questions about the nature of art and of life. These you'll likely ponder long after the film ends. After watching "Stolen," you may never look at a piece of art, or a lover of art, the same way again.


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