Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA/France/United Kingdom, 2003. Paramount Pictures, De Line Pictures, Working Title Films. Screenplay by Donna Powers, Wayne Powers, based on the screenplay by Troy Kennedy-Martin. Cinematography by Wally Pfister. Produced by Donald De Line. Music by John Powell. Production Design by Diego Loreggian, Charles Wood. Costume Design by Mark Bridges. Film Editing by Richard Francis-Bruce, Christopher Rouse.
Usually movie producers look to novels, television shows and comic books to get inspiration for their latest multi-million dollar projects, but lately it seems that Michael Caine movies are just as lucrative a field to mine. I’m still waiting for the remake of The Ipcress File with Denzel Washington (who else is cold enough?) This heist film is a lightweight but involving adventure that comes nowhere near better films like Ocean’s Eleven or The Thomas Crown Affair, but it is entertaining and unpretentious. A band of gold thieves celebrate their success over stealing a vault full of bars in Venice until one of their team (Edward Norton) turns against them, murders their ringleader (Donald Sutherland) and leaves the rest for dead, taking the entire stash with him and fleeing the country. The remaining team members are reunited by master planner Mark Wahlberg, who has every intention of getting the gold back and avenging his dear friend’s death. To do it right, however, he needs Sutherland’s daughter (Charlize Theron), a safecracker who decodes locks while wearing her best lacy black bra (yup, it’s that kind of movie). The heist itself is a grand load of fun, involving high-speed car chases in Mini Coopers and some quick changes that even the audience is surprised at. What keeps it light and enjoyable, however, is the careful use of comedy that isn’t overdone, and the enjoyable performances by the entire cast, especially Mos Def as the half-deaf explosives expert and Seth Green as the computer whiz who claims to have invented Napster. The only sour notes are a one-note performance by Norton, who was contractually obliged to make this movie and lets it show, and the anti-climactic ending that leaves the audience feeling a little bit as swindled as the bad guys in the story. Otherwise, it’s a nice ride.