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Heist 2001
Description: Joe Moore has a job he loves. He's a thief. His job goes sour when he gets caught on safety camera tape. His fence, Bergman reneges on the cash he's owed, and his wife may be betraying him with the fence's young lieutenant. Moore and his partner, Bobby Blane and their utility man, Pinky Pincus search themselves broke, betrayed, and blackmailed. Moore is forced to commit his team to do one last large job.
Released: 09 Nov 2001 Director: David Mamet Writers: David Mamet Actors: Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
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Heist Reviews:

The cast alone suggests that this will be an nice movie...and it was. The amazement however, ended just before the film did. The performances were all nice - however the writing talents were not well suited for actors of this caliber. The writer's talents were more on par with ... well... fortune cookies. This is not to tell that the entire thing is bad. It is just that the ending is just over done. The entire 'tricked-ya' thing is a tiny old, but still acceptable. The 'tricked-ya tricked-ya tricked-ya' kind endings are about as constructive as a dream-sequence ending. To the defense of the movie, it is better the second time, as you are no longer worried about the ending and just enjoying the acting.


I think some comments of how poorly Joe was portrayed by Gene Hackman are greatly incorrect. Here's why: he played the hero as Mamet most likely intended. We are used to seeing the bright sheen and slick attitude of film con-men (Danny Ocean, Henry Gondorf, et al) and any offering less suave is not well received. Joe was an aging has-been. The movie alludes to his down-slide the entire time. He gets "burned", loses his take and gets forced into other "thing". Bobby even voices this explicitly to him when he "walks out" on the "thing". **side note: Bobby obviously was putting on the dog and pony present for Jimmy when he told those things, but they still have merit as I'll explain**So, why am I under the opinion G.H. did a better job then most give him credit for? Joe was down and out- supposedly low in the minigame and broke. He had to hold up this illusion to successfully let everyone else (but Bobby and Pinky) to under-estimate him. He also feared there was probably validity to his supposed weakness. He musters his talent to execute a nice heist and dodge the complications. Essentially, Gene Hackman had to enjoy a hero who was descending into age and loss, gathering his talents for "the thing" and dealing with betrayal, have the confidence in himself but also the fear of his "lameness", and place on a front that he was a foolish has been. He did not enjoy him "weak", but played the "has-been with doubt who thinks he can pull it off but keeps a 'lame' front". The layered complexity of the hero was portrayed by G.H. very well but lost on those who fail to see it.


It's difficult to go wrong with a storyline about intelligent criminals who gotta worry not only about the authorities but about the treachery of another intelligent criminals. Master thief Joe (Hackman) decides to call it quits after a profitable jewel shop robbery in which his unmasked face is caught on camera. Problem is, he's already committed to another, bigger job--stealing a gold shipment from a Swiss freight plane--for his fence & paymaster Mickey (Devito). Mickey won't pay off for the jewel job until Joe does the "Swiss thing." The film's first large flaw is that the animosity between Joe & Mickey, who are apparently longtime mates & associates, is never explained enough to justify why they are so willing to stick it to one another. This is a trouble because Hackman's hero is supposed to occupy the moral high ground (always necessary when everybody's a criminal) but, in the story, comes across at least as treacherous as Devito's. Fine portrayals by Hackman & Devito cover up rather than diminish this flaw. From then on it's all one twist after another, not all of which twist without leaving launch holes behind. Will Joe do the job and, if so, end up doing it the method Mickey wants? Does Joe's supercool, Impossible-Mission team (Lindo, Jay & Pigeon) believe him & stick with him all the way? Is Mickey's brash young nephew & protégé Jimmy (Rockwell), whom Mickey sends to watch Joe, really as cluelessly macho as he seems? Joe's heist plans ("cute as a pailful of kittens") are too complicated to work unless His Honor Judge Murphy is too sleepy to enforce his law. But they deliever a marvellous venue for Mamet to work the lost magic of Welles & Hitchcock: developing characters through interaction & dialog. The helping cast carries most of this task & does it very well, particularly thieves Lindo, Rockwell & Jay. Jimmy's pushy questions to the another thieves are met by cool, obfuscating questions in respond ("How long's he been with that girl?" "How long is a Chinaman's name?"). Pigeon is suitably hard-edged for this taut film, but a lone actress surrounded by so many tough actors has to bring something additional to stand out. Though he'll probably be greatest remember for "Hoosiers," and with respects to DeNiro in movies such as "Heat" & "The Score," Hackman is the most accomplished actor in movies such as this, whether as a cop ("The French Connection"), a private-eye ("Night Moves"), a technician ("The Conversation," "Enemy of the State"), a spy ("Target") or even an attorney ("Under Suspicion"). He's the top master because he rarely fails to score, even in movies with plot holes, low premises & contradictions, with his powerful & convincing characterizations, the almost insane passion that lurks just beneath his plain Midwestern veneer. Fine production values, understated but effective actions scenes & an above-average melody score support Hackman & Co. create "Heist" a watchable rather than forgettable thriller. Play the portrayals & action but don't think too much.



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