Projections - Movie Reviews

The Thomas Crown Affair

How we love a handsome rogue.  Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) finds out with her first glimpse of Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan).  He is also instantly drawn into her sphere of influence.

Smartly remade from the 1968 version which starred Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway it differs only in the crime.  It was robbing Boston banks, this version revolves around the robbery of valuable paintings from the New York Fine Arts Museum.  Banning, the insurance investigator, is tops in her field and always gets her man at five percent of the value of the stolen painting.  Crown doesn't make mistakes and is never caught.  Like a Columbo TV adventure we know from the beginning who the thief is, the intrigue is the developing relation between these two free wheeling characters.  The intricate robberies and subsequent activities of Crown serve to draw us further and further into his corner.  Banning quickly loses her composure and control to the rogue.

Dennis Leary as Detective Michael McCann, in a very interesting performance, is charged with the investigation.  As usual in films, tension between the police and the insurance investigator arise but McCann loses objectivity when it comes to Banning.  He is the decent guy she will reject, even as his magnanimous gift to her is the most important she will receive.  After all we embraced Bill Clinton and rejected Mike Dukakis.  Should we expect the sophisticated sexy rich Catherine Banning to do any different?

Detective Paretti (Frankie Faison) has the role of observer and facilitator.  He sees the sexual anxiety between the three leading characters and  he reacts with humorous understanding.

Rich in script and characters it also provides excitement through the robbery which draws us to the drama and tension of the hero getting away, right under the noses of the best security folks and system in existence.  We watch as Crown and Banning give tit for tat in their respective roles and as they share sex on the stairs like Tom Cruise and Rebecca DeMornay in Risky Business.   Every action between the two is filled with sexual anticipation that delights, each look, dance and piece of dialogue express the exasperation they face, wanting commitment and expecting betrayal.  Falling in love for these two is not wonderful as Irvin Berlin wrote, it is tense and dangerous.

Director, John McTiernan (Die Hard) is able to retain interest and anxiety even if we know from the original what the outcome will be.  An unusual love story with interesting suitors like this one doesn't reach the screen very often. Be sure to catch Thomas Crown.

The Thomas Crown Affair


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