The Thomas Crown Affair

The Thomas Crown Affair

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

This time the remake is in a different class to the original - a better class. What began as a caper film in the Sixties for Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway has been resurrected by Pierce Brosnan's production company as a sophisticated love story.

John McTiernan is known for his action pictures - Die Hard, The Hunt For Red October, Die Hard With A Vengeance - and is an inspired choice as director. He keeps it tight.

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Brosnan invokes the icy charm of a corporate shark. Thomas Crown is smug, arrogant and alone. He lets no-one close. He sees life, business and sex as a game. He likes to win. And he has. He is a self-made billionaire, who is bored enough to plan and execute an ingenious art theft. For the hell of it.

This is where Catherine Banning comes in. She is an insurance investigator, who only covers the big cases. She likes to win, too. She is unconventional in her methods, determined in her approach and clear in her mind.

Rene Russo has always been interesting, especially in those Lethal Weapon movies with Mel Gibson. You could catch the ripple of her humour, the cut of her mind. Here with Brosnan, she is glamour on legs. There is no-one in Hollywood to touch her and, at last, has been given a role that lets sex appeal escape the trappings of the stereotype.

What makes her beauty so vibrant is the look in her eyes. When she plays sexy, your knees melt. Catherine wants to nail Thomas Crown, but falls in love with him instead, which is not possible, because she would never let pleasure come before work.

They are so alike, it's scary. They fear the same things: intimacy and trust. They enjoy the same things, money and style. Someone is going to give. Or something.

It is a measure of Brosnan's understated qualities as an actor that you never think of James Bond. He is still a smoothie, of course, but there is more to him now. Thomas Crown didn't get where he is today by being a pretty face. Neither did Brosnan. This may still be a caper film, a little to the left of To Catch A Thief, but far too intelligent and well made to be dismissed as froth.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Upperclass thief tries to outwit the police in superior remake.
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Director: John McTiernan

Writer: Leslie Dixon, Kurt Wimmer, based on the story by Alan Trustman

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Ben Gazzara, Frankie Faison, Fritz Weaver, Charles Keating, Mark Margolis, Faye Dunaway, Michael Lombard, Bill Ambrozy

Year: 1999

Runtime: 113 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA

Festivals:

EIFF 1999

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