Thief (7/13/12)

Movie One Hundred Sixty Five

Thief is about an ex-con and expert jewel thief that decides to pull a few more heists in order to start a new life.

Frank (James Caan) is a professional safe-cracker that robs cash and/or diamonds and sells them. After his fence is killed, Frank and his partner in crime, Barry (Jim Belushi), are led to a Chicago outfit boss, Leo (Robert Prosky). Leo wants Frank to do a few jobs for him and Frank reluctantly agrees so he can start a new life with a waitress, Jessie (Tuesday Weld) he has been dating. After the big score, Frank wants out but Leo has other plans.

Many people know Michael Mann for his awesome work in Heat, but Thief does some elements of the heist movie just as well, if not better. Frank and Barry are characters easy to understand and relate to, even if we know that it will be hard for things to go right for them. Even if it’s a story we think we’ve seen before, as a whole it is an entertaining one.

I’m not sure if it’s my undying love for the film Drive, but I found many similarities between the films. The opening sequence of Drive has to be an homage to the beginning of Thief, there is no way it’s coincidental. Both Frank and Driver both are cool, calculating, and vengeful, though Frank is much more outspoken. Even the title font and soundtracks are similar. If anyone was disappointed by what Drive wasn’t, then Thief may be the film they are looking for.

There are portions of Thief were the plot seems to lose a bit of its footing and the pacing suffers but then things pick right back up. When Frank is trying to make a life with Jessie I found myself tuning out a bit and waiting for the next scene. I understand we need to know Frank’s motives for going against his instincts and teaming with the mafia, but their relationship still didn’t seem real to me even after all the time spent doting on them. Drive builds a better relationship in less time and with hardly any dialogue.

Thief has been a bit lost in time but it’s a great noir/heist film and outside the Godfather, some of James Caan’s better work. In spite of a few stumbling areas, Thief delivers on every expectation of the genre and perhaps even more.

I give it 4 Thief’s opening sequences out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


21 responses to “Thief (7/13/12)

  1. Not my favorite of the Michael Mann movies, but it was a really good one. I saw so much of Mann in Drive. I think that was just another reason why I liked Drive so much. If you haven’t seen Manhunter by Mann you should check it out. That’s one of my favorites by him.

    Great review.

  2. “Thief” is one of only maybe 3 films that I actually like of Michael Mann’s. Personally, I despise “Heat”. I’ll also say from experience, “No one loves Michael Mann more then, Michael Mann”. Excellent review though.

  3. I was a fan of Drive so I’m definitely interested in seeing the comparison you are making. I will have to check this one out. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  4. The final shoot out of Thief is worth the price of admission. How can you not like seeing Dennis Farina get shot to pieces? I’m a huge fan of Mann and probably one of the few people on the planet that unabashedly loves Miami Vice. Never understood the hate that movie got. Now Public Enemies, there’s a movie worthy of some serious piss and vinegar. What a meandering, lifeless turd.

  5. Pingback: My July Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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