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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.05%
Worth A Look36.51%
Average: 20.63%
Pretty Bad: 9.52%
Total Crap: 14.29%

4 reviews, 39 user ratings

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Heist (2001)
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by Erik Childress

"Mamet's Music To My Ears"
4 stars

When people ask me what kind of music I listen to these days, I would rather tell them David Mamet then any of the artificial and horrendous tunes being played eight times a minute on radio stations. Naturally, Mamet isn’t a musician in the popular sense of the profession, but popping one of his movies into my DVD player is literally poetry in motion. Words strung together for more than four minutes at a time, formulated and performed to such a rhythm that its impossible not to snap your fingers while listening to them. His last film, State and Main, made my top ten list and while Heist doesn’t exactly rank alongside classics like House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner, it certainly has a beat that you can dance to.

The common trappings of the majority of Mamet’s characters are either criminals or regular Joes looking to make that one great big score. “The leads” and “the process” were just Hitchcockian Macguffins to set the plot in motion, but the crew here is after something we can all see and wish only someday to touch – gold. Jim Moore (Gene Hackman) is the atypical crew leader, looking at one final snatch before heading off to retirement with his younger, but dedicated wife Fran (Rebecca Pidgeon). The rest of his loyal coterie includes Bobby Blane (Delroy Lindo), always looking out for Jim’s back and Don "Pinky" Pincus (Mamet regular, the great Ricky Jay).

When their latest job goes awry, Jim’s fence Bergman (Danny DeVito), cheats them out of a portion of their cut and offers them a new one, hijacking an incoming shipment of the aforementioned valuable metal. Bergman insists that his nephew, Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell), be in on this one to protect his interests against Jim’s objections and that’s just the beginning of their problems.

Heist is a difficult film to discuss at length since there’s so little you can discuss without spoiling much of the fun. Yes, that means plot twists and doublecrosses and triplecrosses on those doublecrosses. Mamet isn’t shy when it comes to fooling the audience, even when multiple viewings show how impossible some of those ruses are. Mamet, however, keeps the action moving fast enough for us to be looking for what’s coming next and not what just came.

The centerpiece heist of the film unfolds mostly before our very eyes without knowing all the meticulous planning that with into it as in this summer’s terrific caper flick, The Score. The performances are a uniform pleasure, all reveling the opportunity to let Mamet’s sentences and punchy one-liners escape their mouths. Its climax even reaches a boiling point that many may consider standard gunplay in an otherwise cerebral exercise, but it’s a great one and ultimately satisfies beyond expectation.

It would be easy to look at Heist and call it pretty “by-the-numbers” entertainment. How many times have we seen the “one last job” tale perpetrated with alternate realities and double helixes? Simply labeling anything “standard” by Mamet is about as shallow as an unhypnotized guy named Hal. Look through the plot to see this cast, hear the dialogue and observe how time-tested, sometimes overdone tales can be “re-imagined” (as the latest Hollywood term stipulates) with enough finesse to make it feel like new. As The Score makes it way to video shelves in December and you can’t wait four weeks for Ocean’s Eleven, then Heist is the movie to see.

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originally posted: 11/09/01 02:30:59
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User Comments

11/23/13 Mr. Oliver Accessible&fun yet not a cozy genre film. Requires that you keep up. B+ Mamet 4 stars
10/24/10 Ministry Pompous, weak characters, insults audience's intelligence 1 stars
6/14/07 Kadabr Brilliant film. Probably too smart for most viewers and critics. 5 stars
1/26/07 Artist Bill No BS in this one ..great Mamet style. loved it. 5 stars
3/29/06 Josh Standlee I liked the cast, but this movie was pure fucking shit! Hackman's worst! 1 stars
6/14/05 Indrid Cold Something about Mamet's stilted, hipster dialog bugs me. A nice juicy story though. 4 stars
6/09/05 Agent Sands One of the 3 greatest heist films of all time, & more 1-liners than a Don Rickles marathon. 5 stars
2/21/05 Captain Craig Not Hackmans best work. Some stupid plot lines, Glad I rented it for a buck! 3 stars
8/11/04 Monster W. Kung Terrible. Story goes from boring to absurd like in the shoot-out in daylight... please... 2 stars
3/24/04 George Jung Perfect. 5 stars
3/22/04 john predictable and utterly lifeless - the worst I have ever seen by Mamet 1 stars
10/16/03 francis director and some of the actors going through the motions, Hackman and Di Vito excepted 3 stars
7/17/03 Mr. Hat Filled with slick, clever cons & heists, exciting double-crosses, & great plays on words. 4 stars
5/04/03 Phil M. Aficionado It was between average and worth a look. Depends on taste. 3 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon Gene Hackman teams with Mamet? Can you believe it? Great scenes, confusing story, though. 4 stars
3/26/03 Jack Sommersby Witless crap from the overrated David Mamet. Not a good scene to be had. 1 stars
1/01/03 Andy Todes logic, sense, and plausability were held up, beaten, robbed, gagged and left for dead 1 stars
12/02/02 Jim More double-crosses than a shoe store. 4 stars
9/11/02 The Bomb 69 became repetitve with the crooks backstabbing each other until the end 3 stars
7/27/02 Punk_Ass Crappy acting, little dialog, very predictable. Bascily a pile of suck 2 stars
6/18/02 Dark Barøn Very predictable, poor writing, bad acting. 2 stars
5/26/02 Charles Tatum The twists and turns become predictable 4 stars
4/29/02 David A. This one really smells! It's like "Ocean's 11" in drag. Gene gets the gold! (Wow. yawn.) 1 stars
4/24/02 Iago What a horrible piece of shit! Slow with stupid dialouge. 1 stars
4/04/02 lauren mccreight trys way too hard to be ain't. 2 stars
3/24/02 J. Chusing Bites The Big One 2 stars
12/16/01 spaceworm DeVito's "money" line was a money line. HAckman (and Lindo) any day. 5 stars
12/12/01 Simeon Briggs Err, isnt this just a film where all the lines bare no relevence to that which preceeds it? 3 stars
12/07/01 Dominik Duprelle The dialogue. Mr Hackman, Mr Lindo. Quality entertainment. 4 stars
12/01/01 Phoenix Poor script. Hackman, De Vito, and Lindo deserve better. 2 stars
11/28/01 KMG Really slow at first, but Hackman just keeps on foolin' em! 4 stars
11/27/01 sdfr Mamet can spin a yarn as well as he can write dialogue. There's never a dull moment here. 4 stars
11/15/01 Tony C good for the "young, dumb and full of cum" 3 stars
11/14/01 spaceworm Look to the mid-seventies for the few times Hackman wasn't on the money. Elect him king. 4 stars
11/12/01 poetchuck Interesting twists, Hackman superb, Wife needs dialogue coach 5 stars
11/12/01 chouck bad dialog, over acting and a plot that was too full of itself 1 stars
11/10/01 Suzz Wooden acting; ridiculous screenplay; idiotic plot 1 stars
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  09-Nov-2001 (R)



Directed by
  David Mamet

Written by
  David Mamet

  Gene Hackman
  Danny DeVito
  Ricky Jay
  Sam Rockwell
  Delroy Lindo
  Rebecca Pidgeon

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