And the film does quite a few things right, actually. It keeps the viewers guessing what's going on until the very end and has some fine twists there. But it is almost good and really misses hardly making the experience feel logical and gives the overall impression of cutting too many corners.
Let's start with the title - it has almost nothing to do with car stealing, so anyone hoping to see some sort of Gone in 60 Seconds style movie will be vastly disappointed. Sometimes, of course, this kind of title with hidden meaning is completely fine, but on this certain instance, this almost feels like lying. Instead, this is essentially a prison movie, which takes place in the juvy. We see our main character Billy gaining the trust and respect of others thanks to his rather charismatic behavior and finally revealing us the key problem of his mindset.
The problem there is that the writing really doesn't support that. Billy is made so incredibly obnoxious and stupid (in many ways) that it gets almost impossible to take him seriously. He often gives some really weird speeches, disobeys the orders and gets the whole collective in trouble. Still none of his comrades seemed to care and started to look him up, if anything else. The good side of the character was that he really didn't care what would come to him. He was literally fearless and this gave him a little credibility, but all in all was still rather unbelievable.
Even though it seemingly was more of an alternative film, it still contains many clichés - the outcast, the sick kid, who befriends Billy, hot nurse who became a love interest for Billy and finally - surprise, surprise - a rather cruel warden. OK, he wasn't too mean, like wardens in many similar movies, but the sense of this heavily clichéd character was definitely present. And Billy himself was also a good talented kid with exceptional memory gone bad. The film used some non linear storytelling, but it only focused around the key point and could have told us a little more background.
All the supporting characters were somehow dull and didn't have much depth. It was almost as if they just were there and even if they seemed to have a purpose, most of them never really opened up and didn't add much to the plot.
Ultimately Stealing Cars is not a great film. On a positive note this is somewhat psychological trip which dwells into a confused mind, has few nice twists and isn't all that predictable. I understand what the producers wanted to show us, but the way it was constructed wasn't particularly convincing. Main problems are dull side characters and a monotonous plot which is hard to take seriously because of the oddly acting Billy.
And one last time - that title....