The Perfect Job

There's no honour between thieves.

The thing about this movie - it gives you the kind of indulgence you get when you correctly predict an event. Or a turn of it. Which is the only upside to this otherwise tepid twister.

"Heist", written and directed by David Mamet, would have made good reading. It’s the convoluted plot of a greying thief, Joe Moore (Gene Hackman) and his tried-and-true trinity of henchmen, who architect high-end robberies with a technique that befits a crew of engineers.

Joe, however, is growing old, and after getting caught on surveillance camera on his last caper, he decides to play it safe and head off the mainland. He’s got one problem though. He’s out of money and the dealer he works for, Bergman (Danny De Vito), refuses to give him his share of the loot unless he performs one last heist!

Then there’s the other problem. Fran Moore (Rebecca Pidgeon), his very young wife, is set up as bait in his newly constructed scheme to dupe Bergman and his upshot nephew Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell). There’s no guarantee the bait itself won’t bite. The big heist? To rob a cargo of Swiss gold bricks from a plane on the runway. What’s left to see is if the old man exits gracefully, and if the formula he’s worked out so well does eventually earn him the top score.

So the movie is an uninterrupted narrative of a masterminded blueprint, with little room for inertia. And while the dialogue is often incisive, there’s no proverbial visual feast. More like an early brunch, the spool unwinds much like an amateur play at the village fair, lacking tension, rush, or any of the dimensions a suspense drama ought to show. Gene Hackman delivers as expected, giving not an iota more, while Rebecca Pidgeon, on the other hand, was on the sets solely to allow some feminine syntax balance the overriding male locution. Danny De Vito springs a stunner with his villainous conduct, negating all stereotypes of the archetypal blackguard.

"Heist" is the kind of film you want to watch when you run out of exciting options on the telly, and need an added helping of Hackman!

This article was first published on 15 Jun 2002.