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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Heist

Starring: Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito
Director: David Mamet
Rated: R
RunTime: 107 Minutes
Release Date: November 2001
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Delroy Lindo, Ricky Jay, Christian Maguire, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Kaldor, Rebecca Pidgeon

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1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
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3.  Harvey Karten read the review ---
4.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

"What are we going to do?" Fran Moore (Rebecca Pidgeon) asks her husband, Joe (Gene Hackman), the gang's mastermind. "That's what everybody wants to know," he replies. And that's what viewers will keep asking themselves in HEIST, a smartly written crime caper filled with twists and double crosses from writer/director David Mamet. The clever script has more than enough dead ends and head fakes to keep you guessing.

With a wide variety of films to his credit, including STATE AND MAIN, THE WINSLOW BOY and my favorite, HOUSE OF GAMES, David Mamet has a great track record. In his impressive canon, the movie that HEIST will most remind you of is THE SPANISH PRISONER. His signature style is the staccato dialog in which short sentences are like bullets packed for maximum impact. How cool is Joe? "He's so cool that when he goes to sleep, the sheep count him," Pinky (Ricky Jay), one of Joe's men, remarks about him.

The plot has Joe and his team, which includes Pinky, Fran and Bobby (Delroy Lindo), reluctantly taking on a hotheaded newbie, Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell, GALAXY QUEST), because Jimmy's relative, Bergman (Danny DeVito), demands it. Bergman is supplying the cash to finance Joe and Co.'s heists, and Bergman wants a man on the inside of their operation after a previous job of Joe's goes slightly sour.

Joe's effectiveness comes from more than his coolness under pressure. His brilliance is best shown in his meticulously planned backup schemes. He doesn't just prepare Plans A, B and C. He apparently works his way through the entire alphabet given how well he is able to react to unexpected circumstances.

And how cool is his wife? Fran, Joe claims, "could talk her way out of a sunburn."

As the time runs out on the caper, it becomes a game in which whoever has the gold last wins. The audience will win regardless, since they get to enjoy the golden dialog. Joe, for example, doesn't like people pointing guns at him unless they plan to shoot. Why? Because otherwise, "It's insincere."

HEIST runs 1:47. It is rated R for "language and some violence" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave the film ***. He liked it all, especially the twists. His only complaint was that having so many backup plans seemed a little unbelievable.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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