Heist

Rated: R
Stars:    Gene Hackman, Delroy Lindo, Danny DeVito, Sam Rockwell, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay
Director:   David Mamet
Writer:    David Mamet

David Mamet presents a pretty package, but what’s inside the box isn’t the great gift you were expecting. And that’s the problem with  Heist. Perhaps to a Mamet novice this is considered great fare, but for me, it’s one too many of his films dealing with multiple double crosses; you actually know what’s coming. How? Go watch his “The Spanish Prisoner” and “House of Games”. You’ll become a Mamet aficionado in no time.

Gene Hackman plays Joe Moore, a weary jewel thief on his last job with partners Bobby Blane (Delroy Lindo), Don “Pinky” Pincus (Ricky Jay) and set-up expert, wife Fran (Rebecca Pidgeon, Mamet’s real-life wife).

When his fence, Bergman (Danny DeVito), double-crosses them on the cut, Joe and his crew are left flat broke unless they pull one final big job involving Swiss gold. Bergman’s insurance that things will go his way is having his slimy nephew Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell) on hand to help and watch over the heisters. Joe knows his days in the business are numbered; his image was seen on a security camera during the jewel job, a fact Bergman uses to blackmail him into taking the new job. Don’t look for one of those high-tech capers; this one’s squarely crafted by grunt work.

Lotta says: How the heist plays out and who’s double-crossing whom is not something to be revealed in a film review. You may enjoy the guessing game, so by all means see the film. High points go to Hackman and Lindo for their solid performances, as you’d expect, and I give Mamet a thumbs up on the dockside shootout scene. It presented realistic looking and sounding gunplay. Thankfully, Mamet’s signature clipped, repetitive dialogue is kept to a minimum Danny DeVito makes for a good scoundrel but Patti Lupone has a miniscule part that could have gone to anyone. All in all, I’d have to say I was disappointed in the film’s total lack of suspense. A far more thrilling film in this genre is De Niro’s  The Score which will soon be out on videotape in case you missed it in the theaters.

Reviewed 11/9/01