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The Good Thief

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Good Thief

Starring: Nick Nolte, Tcheky Karyo
Director: Neil Jordan
Rated: R
RunTime: 108 Minutes
Release Date: April 2003
Genres: Drama, Suspense, Thriller

*Also starring: Said Taghmaoui, Emir Kusturica, Mark Polish, Michael Polish, Jason Flemyng, Ralph Fiennes, Nino Kukhanidze

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Inspired by Jean Pierre Melville's "Bob Le Flambeur," this clever crime caper is chock full of duplicity and deception - which is not surprising since writer/director Neil Jordan ("The Crying Game") is at the helm. As the quirky story begins, Bob Montagnet (Nick Nolte), a weary, dissolute, drug-addicted gambler, has lost his last francs at the Nice racetrack when one of his seedy cohorts probes him about the possibility of robbing the Casino Riviera in Monte Carlo on the eve of the Grand Prix. "I've retired," he growls. "I'm no longer a thief," he repeats to a suspicious detective friend (Tcheky Karyo), who pays him a visit soon after. But the temptation for one last score grows as he discovers that it's not the casino's cash-crammed safe that's the lure: it's the cache of priceless Impressionist paintings that hang on its walls. Actually, the art on public display is fake but the real Cezannes, Picassos, Van Goghs and Modiglianis are stashed in a vault in a nearby building - and he's been tipped off by the man (Emir Kusturica) who installed the security system. Mix in a tart subplot with a sexy, young ‚migr‚ waitress (Nutsa Kukhianidze), and the clincher comes via tricky twins who hold the Casino's access codes.

Once the gritty heist starts, Jordan keeps the tension taut, aided by the cinematography of Chris Menges that has aspects of an atmospheric tone poem - and the title's Biblical from the New Testament. Just months after his real-life arrest as a disheveled drunk, ravaged Nick Nolte delivers one of his most memorable performances, convincingly taking self-destruction to a new level. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Good Thief" is an ingenious if garbled 7, and credit Neil Jordan for concocting a more satisfying conclusion than the 1955 film noir.

Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger

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