Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 2001. Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, NPV Entertainment, Jerry Weintraub Productions, Section Eight, WV Films II, St. Petersburg Clearwater Film Commission. Screenplay by Ted Griffin, based on the 1960 film, story by George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russell, Screenplay by Harry Brown, Charles Lederer. Cinematography by Steven Soderbergh. Produced by Jerry Weintraub. Music by David Holmes. Production Design by Philip Messina. Costume Design by Jeffrey Kurland. Film Editing by Stephen Mirrione. National Board of Review Awards 2001. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2001.
Of the three heist films to come out in 2001 (the other two being The Score and Heist), this is far and away the king of them all. An all-star cast glides smoothly through Steven Soderbergh’s perfectly-edited, beautifully shot remake of the 1960 Frank Sinatra snoozer, one that is unmistakably modern but delightfully sports a classy fifties Vegas-Rat Pack feel that is impossible to resist. George Clooney is a thief fresh out of prison who decides to try and win back his ex-wife (Julia Roberts) by gathering eleven other robbery experts in various fields and ripping off three casinos belonging to her new boyfriend (Andy Garcia); naturally he insists that it’s all about the money, but cohort Brad Pitt knows better. Pitt is excellent as the right-hand man, a smooth operator who puts the whole group together and helps him lead them through a successful robbery in one of the most complex security systems ever seen on film. Though Clooney’s suave style is what heads up the entire operation, it is Pitt’s strength that the film really leans on for support, and he outdoes himself with immeasurable ease. The whole cast is terrific, with the only low grades going to Roberts, who is so wonderful to see here working for Soderbergh again, but it takes effort to really see her in the part even while you’re watching her play it. Yet another victory for the indefatigable director.