THE GOOD THIEF, written and directed by Neil Jordan, is a near miss that is
frequently too clever for its own good. A tone poem about an old thief, the
production is consistently more beautiful than the story is interesting. Its
shots of the Riviera at night are absolutely breath-taking.
With a face like an old punching bag, Nick Nolte delivers an annoying
performance as Bob, the thief with six convictions who is trying for one last
big score. Nolte is the only actor in this film, set in France, whose native
language is English, yet he manages to be the only one whose English is nearly
indecipherable. Mumbling one line after another, he makes you wish that they
had hired another actor to dub his lines into something more intelligible.
THE GOOD THIEF is a heist movie with the usual set of twists. Bob and one of
his teams are planning on making like they are going to rob a casino with fake
paintings on the walls, while his other team steals the real paintings in a
nearby building. Of course, the original paintings are secured with an
"unbreakable" security system, which they break. Watching the action is
sometimes fun, but the sense of d‚j… vu spoils a lot of it.
The most promising part of the story involves Nino Kukhanidze, who plays Anne, a
sexy 17-year-old girl that Bob rescues. With a detached, stoner attitude, her
character keeps making you think the movie will turn into some sort of guilty
pleasure, … la Brian De Palma's FEMME FATALE, but it never does. What we're
left with is a mildly diverting caper of the type that we've seen numerous times
THE GOOD THIEF runs 1:48. It is rated R for "language, sexuality, drug content
and some violence" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes