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Artworks (2003)

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A police chief's daughter, a sales agent for a home-security firm, meets an art gallery owner. Love and envy lead them to hatch a plot to steal overlooked but valuable paintings from her wealthy clients.


Jim Amatulli
4 wins. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Virginia Madsen ... Emma Becker
Rick Rossovich ... Bret Rogers
Eddie Mills ... Cory Wells
Daniel von Bargen ... Howard Deardorf
Matt Miller ... Bill
Ted Hutton Ted Hutton ... Sammy
Denise Dal Vera ... Katie Landon
Jefferson Moore ... Tuck Landon
Nancy Karlsberger Nancy Karlsberger ... Sally Woodstein
Carrie Christie Carrie Christie ... Jill (as Carrie Ragsdale)
Dale Hodges Dale Hodges ... Mrs. Watson
Sally Noble Hager ... Mrs. Palarski
Talia Amatulli Talia Amatulli ... Lizzy
Dixie Utter Dixie Utter ... Millie Whitehall
Jane Mowder Jane Mowder ... Detective Hubbard


Emma's a succesful sale agent for a home security company, due in part to being the police chief's daughter. But her marriage is loveless and she suffers from the loss of her baby in childbirth. She's an artist, but hasn't picked up a brush in a year. Bret owns a small but successful art gallery, balancing aesthetics and business deftly. He's alone, but not lonely. Fate brings Emma and Bret together and they discover shared disdain for clients who collect art to impress others, follow the current trend or think only in terms of investment value. Bret has an idea that will push them both across lines they'd never seriously considered crossing. He proposes stealing artworks from her clients and convinces her that they could be quickly fenced. She resists at first. Her strong relationship with her father, Howard, is evident as she shares the hopelessness of her marriage. He supports her completely, particularly as she begins to paint again. Emma agrees to Bret's plan and the thefts are ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

10 April 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Arte do Crime See more »

Filming Locations:

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Turning Point
Composed by Aaron Goldberg
(A Dawg Music - BMI)
Performed by Aaron Goldberg Group
from the J Curve Records (JCR1004) CD Turning Point
See more »

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User Reviews

Cool idea, top notching casting, great music, beautifully filmed, so-so plotting, FANTASTIC Sex Scenes
4 April 2005 | by clyonsSee all my reviews

Basically, that's all there is to say about it. You watch for the art, the dialogue, the acting, the look of the film, the fascinating inside look at the art world, and the unbelievable chemistry between Virginia Madsen and Rick Rossovich. Hell, just seeing Virginia Madsen, who has NEVER looked better, in a role where she is both seduced and seducer, makes it worthwhile. Just entering her fourth decade as she made this film, she radiates sexual charisma, while showing remarkable acting chops in the process. One of the most criminally underutilized actresses in Hollywood, without question--hopefully that will change now. And btw, she was ROBBED at the Oscars.

Emma Becker is a woman in a bad marriage, who feels a special love for lesser known works of art that are ignored and neglected by the shallow people who own them. Rossovich plays Bret, a gallery owner who shares that love, and sees right away that the neglected work of art he most wants to acquire is Emma herself. The best thing about this movie, in fact, is the way it allows all us longtime Madsen-watchers to just bliss out on one of the most beautiful women ever to appear on film--particularly since most of her movies just don't allow her beauty to shine out the way this one does. (And unfortunately, most of her movies make this movie look like a classic.) One irony that occurred to me while watching it on Showtime--Madsen herself has come back into vogue since making this movie, thanks to "Sideways"--probably the main reason "Artworks" is now on DVD and getting shown fairly often on cable. A neat parallel with the events of the film. But while "Sideways" is a better movie than "Artworks" in general terms, "Artworks" is a better movie than "Sideways" if you're a Madsen-holic. And I don't mean her tough guy brother Michael, though he's pretty cool too. (g) There are no good guys or bad guys in this picture--in the end, it's just about people going after what they want, and the not-so-terrible price they pay, and you aren't supposed to sympathize--just recognize that part of yourself that might do the same thing in their place.

You ask yourself--did Bret seduce Emma because he needed her to pull the perfect heist? Or did he come up with the heist as a way to seduce Emma? In the end, it works too well by half, as Emma finds her creative juices being stimulated by the danger, as much as the sex, which become hopelessly intermingled in her mind, like two colors blending together. She can't stop herself--so the movie has to come up with a way to stop her. It's not entirely convincing--can even a villa in Tuscany make up for the loss of her adrenaline high? Can Bret trust this dream come true, when it came at the price of her betraying him? I guess a lot of people would like the chance to find out.

It might have been a lot better, no question. I don't think the ending is a problem, so much as the overly swift resolution of the dilemma the characters find themselves in. But I think it's pointless to judge a movie by what it might have been--you judge a movie by what it is, and this movie is worth seeing if you're interested in art, good acting, great sex scenes, and Virginia Madsen--in that order.

The modern jazz score is done with superb taste, as is the film itself. If you can accept the deficiencies in the script, no worse than many a nifty 1930's Pre-Code picture, you'll have a lot of fun. And did I mention the sex scenes? It takes a big powerful actor like Rossovich not to get totally blown away by Madsen's powerfully erotic presence. Without really getting very explicit by today's standards, they heat up the screen more than any thousand soft core porn-snorers you could catch on Cinemax in late night. Genuine eroticism is a rare quality in movies today. It's almost a lost art in itself, for American movies. Enjoy it while you can. Virgina's got an Oscar nomination now, so she'll probably be doing a lot more straight dramatic roles. Shucks. (g)

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