HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Art of the Steal, The A little larceny goes a long way
Year: 2013
Director: Jonathan Sobol
Stars: Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel, Kenneth Welsh, Chris Diamantopoulos, Katheryn Winnick, Jason Jones, Terence Stamp, Devon Bostick, Elle Downs, Dax Ravina
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: An art heist gone wrong lands ageing thief Crunch Calhoun (Kurt Russell) in a tough Polish prison when he is betrayed by his untrustworthy brother Nicky (Matt Dillon). Five years later he is out of jail and ekes out a living as a third-rate motorcycle daredevil aided by his loyal apprentice Francis (Jay Baruchel) and much younger but far shrewder girlfriend Lola (Katheryn Winnick). When Crunch gets attacked by an angry thug over a misunderstanding, he realizes Nicky is back in town and planning an even bigger heist. Against his better judgement, Crunch brings Francis and Lola into a scheme reuniting his original team, including wily Uncle Paddy (Kenneth Welsh) and French art forger Guy de Cornet (Chris Diamantopoulos), to steal a priceless historical book. However, not only has hot-tempered Interpol Agent Brick (Jason Jones) enlisted imprisoned art thief Samuel Winter (Terence Stamp) to help catch them in the act but it becomes clear there is more to this scam than meets the eye.

Heist movies, of the more fanciful than grittier variety, enjoyed a major revival in the wake of the huge global success of Steven Soderbergh's superior remake of Ocean's Eleven (2001). Having said that let's give the devil his due and admit Guy Ritchie played a big part in re-popularizing the genre. Since then heist movies lapsed into endlessly replaying the same familiar clichés to the point where television shows like the British-made Hustle and the American Leverage get away with rehashing the same basic plot every week. For his second feature film following A Beginner's Guide to Endings (2010), a comedy-drama with J.K. Simmons and Harvey Keitel, Canadian writer-director Jonathan Sobel ticks all the heist movie boxes without trying anything radically new. But as far as box-ticking goes, The Art of the Steal is handsomely crafted and solidly entertaining, bolstered by the lively playing of a strong ensemble cast and Sobel's assured visual sense.

“The real currency in the world ain't money, it's trust. If you've got no trust, what have you got?” ponders our splendidly named anti-hero Crunch Calhoun in his opening monologue. Never afraid to play the lovable loser or act his age, Kurt Russell invests a disarming degree of pathos in his portrayal of the bruised, battered but still bold stunt cyclist dreaming of one last big score. Crunch signs up for Nicky's audacious scam not because he wants the money but because his life's ambition was to make history. He wants to know his life has been worthwhile. Although Sobel fumbles the ambiguous suspense of whether Lola is also playing Crunch for a sucker, which ought to underline the central theme, the film gains a layer of poignancy through its depiction of old men full of regret and broken dreams. At one point Terence Stamp, priceless as world-weary police informant Winter, delivers a moving monologue about the allure of art. It is one of several charming character touches that compensate for the odd incidental flaw.

Sobel's lively script has all the fast patter and grifter lingo familiar from a dozen other movies and TV shows. All the familiar heist movie elements are accounted for: the team of misfits with special skills, the elaborate plan that seems certain to fail, the split screen detailing multiple actions simultaneously, the post-heist run of double and triple-crosses. Yet Sobel adds a few idiosyncratic flourishes including a bike chase through the subway in a nod to Diva (1981), the amusing use of a giant vaginal-shaped sculpture as a Trojan Horse and Francis' hapless attempt to sneak across the border with two wanted criminals hiding in his car which ends with him discussing the merits of Predator 2 (1990) with the border guard! Perhaps the standout sequence is a flashback story-within-a-story about the theft of the Mona Lisa done in the style of an old silent movie complete with Georges Méliès style flourishes and the cast playing different roles. Performances are engaging across the board with Russell and Dillon (so crooked he lifts a wallet off a nine year old girl in broad daylight!) equally charismatic. In a decidedly male-centric film Kathryn Winnick is sadly underused by comparison with the opportunities Jay Baruchel, Jason Jones and Chris Diamantopoulos have to etch likeable comic characters. If the climax is less mind-blowing than the filmmakers think it is still a fun ride getting there. Lovable rogues, snappy dialogue, pacy action, Katheryn Winnick in a Vegas showgirl outfit. Good times.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3245 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: