November 2001
Have your cake and steal it too : Mamet’s “Heist” takes the gold and the laughs

Reviewed by Kellye Whitney

Have your cake and steal it too - Mamet’s “Heist” takes the gold and the laughs

Have you ever met anyone so clever, they can anticipate your next move before it’s even occurred to you? Perhaps you’ve heard about an individual so street savvy and just plain ssslick, they can steal your heart, squeeze it dry, and put it back before you realize you missed it. If you can relate, or if you harbor some slightly perverse admiration for a person like this, then you’ll love “Heist.”

“Heist” centers on a circle of career criminals who are always plotting and planning the next big score. They are masters of diversion, and utterly superior at the art of misdirection. Even scarier? They’re completely likable, even ordinary guys that you wouldn’t look at twice unless you ran them over with your car, or admired the cut of their good Sunday suit. The film premiered at the 37th Annual Chicago International Film Festival October 4 and will open in theaters nationwide November 9. Veteran actor Gene Hackman has made a career playing hard-nosed, charmingly funny, and notoriously selfish characters, and he has created an expectation of edgy humor for his work. His characterization of master thief Joe Moore is no different. After getting his identity “burned” in a robbery, Moore decides to quit the business and sail into the sunset with wife and accomplice Fran (Rebecca Pidgeon). But his fence Bergman (Danny DeVito) has one last job that needs doing and he’s willing to use blackmail to get it done.

Written by Chicago-native and celebrated playwright David Mamet (“House of Games”, “The Spanish Prisoner”), “Heist” is a maze of twists, cons, and double-crosses. You never know whose on what side, when the game has started, or if the jig is already up. But the action is constant, and the one-liners zing around the screen with all the force and wind of a sling shot. With no money to plan his escape and no money to pay his crew for their most recent job for Bergman, Jim has no choice but to commit the crew to one last gig. Bergman’s young, lippy crony, Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell) joins crew Bobby Blane and Don “Pinky” Pincus (Delroy Lindo and Ricky Jay) for the “Swiss job” and tries without success to appear mature and savvy, but he is as inexperienced and “lame” as the crew says. Being “young, dumb, and full of cum” doesn’t keep him from putting the moves on Joe’s pretty young wife though. The plot thickens like canned pea soup. Will Joe’s wife cheat? Will he get caught before he can pull off this job? Will the crew hold it tight until the end, or is Joe just too darn old and tired to make this thing work? Mamet creates a loop of red herrings and mental diversions so intricate you’ll be guessing until the last possible second. One thing however, remains crystal clear. In the question, what makes the world go round? The answer ain’t love, baby. It’s love of gold.

 

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