Heist (2001)

Written & Directed by David Mamet

My boss recently gave me a slew of movies he felt I should watch. Surprisingly almost everything he gave me I had never heard of, except this one. I had heard of it, yes, but I knew very little about it. It is written and directed by David Mamet, who is famous for great, albeit extremely vulgar, language. But the dialogue he writes is also massively entertaining, so why should I expect anything different from this film with a cast that consists of Gene Hackman, Sam Rockwell and Danny DeVito.

The film is just as the title suggests, a heist film. Joe Moore (Hackman) is a genius thief with a great team (Ricky Jay, Delroy Lindo & Rebecca Pidgeon) behind him. But when he gets “burnt” on the latest job when his face gets caught on security cameras, he must flee and drop out of the business. There is one problem: the “fence” (Danny DeVito) is withholding the money from the last job, so he must do one more job in order to be able to afford to flee. Yes, it is a typical plot: the veteran con man must do one last job before retirement. But I promise, it isn’t a crutch to the film.

No, there is no crutch to the film. In fact it is nothing but a solid heist film which justifies the film’s title. But the plot is not the reason. The plot is merely there to service the writing and the acting, which are immensely fun to take in. David Mamet is able to write witty dialogue for his good cast to deliver and move the story forward. And the story, while somewhat conventional, is a nice joyride that includes robbing a plane while on the tarmac. Needless to say, the filmmakers ask the audience to suspend their disbelief. But within the framework of the film it works and is funny and entertaining enough to pass the time, just don’t expect the best crime movie ever made.

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