Directed by David Mamet.
Written by David Mamet.
Starring Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo and Sam
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 11/17/01
As I mentioned in my Trailer Roundup from a
few weeks ago, the preview for "Heist" features one of the
single-worst lines in movie history:
"Everyone needs money. That's why they call
And, writer/director David Mamet (other
credits include "Glengarry Glen Ross", "House of Games" and "The
Spanish Prisoner") throws in plenty more of those before his two
hours are up, and many of them miss badly. I haven't quite figured
out what Mamet's problem with dialogue is, exactly...but, a lot of
it has to do with the fact that you listen to the words and wonder
if any other human being would ever really say that.
You see, in this Mamet thriller, career
criminal Joe Moore (Gene Hackman) pulls off a jewelry heist to start
the film, and in the course of the robbery gets spotted by a store
videocamera. Realizing that the police will be all over him soon,
he decides to leave the country with his wife Fran (Rebecca Pidgeon,
who is Mamet's wife in the real world). Not so fast, says Joe's
boss (Danny DeVito)...there is one last job that Joe will have to do
in order to make enough money to be comfortable in his new
south-of-the-border life. So, along with partners Bobby (Delroy
Lindo, close behind James Gandolfini in most film appearances this
year) and Pinky (Ricky Jay), they put together a scheme to pull off
a final job in order to make enough bank and get Joe's boss off of
their collective backs.
Since the title of the film gives it away,
the flick is about robbery and during the robbery sequences, the
movie is very good. Unfortunately, the movie that fills the gaps is
not too good at all. Mamet's calling card has always been his
command of the English language, and as usual, the film attempts
profane one-liners at every turn. But, in particular, the delivery
of these lines by Pidgeon and Jay come off so wooden that they
almost look like they were read off of a cue card. Pidgeon is quite
possibly the worst actress on the planet, but she IS the director's
wife so I guess she will always be able to find work. She almost
single-handedly ruined Mamet's much superior "The Spanish Prisoner",
and she does a good job of f'ing things up here, too.
And, also standard in Mamet's films are the
double- and triple-cross, and this film is no different. I saw this
film with my friend Chi today, and both of us thought the ending
left a little bit to be desired, as did my friend Clay, who had seen
this one last week. If this is your first Mamet film, you might
like it...but for vets, go back and watch "House of Games" again, or
check out the Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com)
to see the numerous other films that he has either directed or
written for and you will see what he is capable of on a good day.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard