Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"To watch actors work with such unity of purpose is a scary thing, like balancing between probability and deception."

Joe Moore (Gene Hackman) is an artist. A con artist. He's also a thief. Watching him work is an education.

"He's so cool, when he goes to bed sheep count him."

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But he's not invincible. Things go wrong. "I wouldn't clear my throat without a backup plan," he says. During a raid on a jewellers, he takes off his mask to deal with a female employee, who wanders into the crime scene, and is recorded by surveillance cameras.

Now he's burnt and people are beginning to talk. Is he too old for this kind of thing?

"Stay in the shadows," they tell him.

"Everybody's going to be looking in the shadows," he says.

"Where do you go?"

"You walk in the sun."

Walking in the sun with Joe, his wife (Rebecca Pidgeon) and his crew (Delroy Lindo, Ricky Jay) is David Mamet's latest venture. It follows in the tradition of House Of Cards and The Spanish Prisoner. You don't know who to trust, you don't know where you're going. You keep your wits about you, in case of missing something, and don't make a sound.

"I'll be as quiet as an ant pissing on cotton."

"I want you as quiet as an ant thinking about pissing on cotton," Joe says.

Mamet explains: "Gangster films are essentially sentimental. They're violent and they're sentimental. And film noir is violent and unsentimental. It's much colder than a gangster film. Violence is emotional, so to treat it unemotionally almost automatically makes it ironic." He puts Heist in the noir category.

The performances stir butterflies in your tummy. To watch actors work with such unity of purpose is a scary thing, like balancing between probability and deception. You have to trust. But dare you?

"What are you going to do?"

"That's what everyone wants to know," Joe says.

If there is any certainty about a David Mamet movie, it is that there is no certainty.

Reviewed on: 22 Nov 2001
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Thriller proving there's no honour amongst thieves.
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Director: David Mamet

Writer: David Mamet

Starring: Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay, Patti LuPone

Year: 2001

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA


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