Projections - Movie Reviews

The Good Thief

The Good Thief

Neil Jordan stretches himself in good and lukewarm ways by updating the 1955 French crime drama "Bob Le Flambeur."  The director-writer, who has earned plaudits and success from filming from the works of Graham Greene and Anne Rice, does better with his characters than the bright complexities of a storyline, a lesser, yet artistic exotic kind of Ocean's Eleven.

There is no one like a Humphrey Bogart or Claude Rains on the screen here, but Nick Nolte hones sharply into the political and sexual nuances.  The result has the film assuming an identity similar to Brian DePalma's Femme Fatale which didn't connect with audiences in spite of a smoldering Rebecca Romijn-Stamos paired with a voyeuristic Antonio Banderas.

Bob Montagnet (Nick Nolte) is a drug-addled gambler looking to get back on his feet in the vibrant Nice underworld.  He gets some game thieves together to steal millions from a casino, but not quite what one would expect.  Jordan underlines the bingeing and overdosing of Bob's existence with a compassionate spirit that is waiting to emerge.

The numerous double-dealing nature of the story maybe isn't Jordan's cup of tea, but his work with the actors keeps it fairly intriguing throughout.  Perhaps, the most significant relationship occurs when Bob rescues the young Anne, a seductive Nutsa Kukhianidze, from a pimp.  The sensitivity into the unsettled Americanized woman is abetted by Nolte's versatility and the actress shows much maturity for her years.

The Good Thief also proves to be memorable in Jordan's oeuvre for his work with lensers like Chris Menges who vividly portrays the life of a broken man hoisted up by a tricky, even gallant heist.

The Good Thief

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