Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailers; TV spots; Director's commentary;
Making of documentary.
THE heist movie is given another slick makeover, this time by
Neil Jordan, in The Good Thief, a European-set crime caper that
could well do for the south of France what Oceans
11 did for Las Vegas.
Based upon the Jean-Pierre Melville classic, Bob le Flambeur,
which was, itself, a 50s French homage to the American gangster
flick, The Good Thief finds Nick Noltes world-weary gambler
and heroin addict, Bob, being drawn back into a life of crime
by some former colleagues when his luck (and money) run out.
The score in question involves a vault full of priceless works
of art, as well as a double bluff involving the Riviera Casino
in Monte Carlo, and is made all the more intricate by the presence
of Tchéky Karyos inquisitive cop, Roger - an old
friend of Bobs, who is desperate to help him avoid arrest,
but who will do so if required.
Thrown into the mix, as well, is Nutsa Kukhianis sultry
teenage Eastern European runaway, whom Bob saves and then befriends,
and several collaborators, many of whom may be working their own
scams along the way - most notably Emir Kustaricas security
genius, and two of the casinos security guards, portrayed
by the Polish brothers.
Rather like Steven Soderberghs Rat Pack remake, The Good
Thief thrives on its ability to play with viewers perceptions,
throwing in bluff after bluff, before delivering its winning hand.
It is a slick exercise in quality filmmaking, expertly placing
viewers into its world of smoky backroom card games and dark alleys,
while offsetting it against the glitz and glamour of the Cote
Nolte is perfectly cast as the wily Bob, a partially successful
thief, but friend to everyone, who gets by on charm and his ability
to tell stories alone. The actor possesses the perfectly grizzled
look and voice of one of lifes survivors, a dedicated gambler
who believes in playing everything to the limit without a thought
for the consequences.
His relationship with Karyos cop is beautifully-played
(the two have a terrific on-screen rapport), while the incendiary
Kukhiani is simply magnetic as his lucky charm - a teenager he
saves after feeling drawn to her lucky eyes.
She is the epitome of the femme fatale and her performance will
undoubtedly be one of the breakthroughs of the year.
Writer-director Jordan, whose films have been a little hit and
miss of late, also deserves praise for producing such a sharp
script and some lively direction, both of which help to turn a
familiar premise into something that is never less than brilliant.
If you enjoyed last years Oceans 11, then this is
well worth a gamble - in enjoyment terms, youll have hit