David Mamet’s films seemingly regurgitate every clever quip he’s collected on bar napkins throughout the years. Heist is as efficient and well put together as double-crossing pictures like these come nowadays. That is, of course, when the characters aren’t standing around taking pleasure in listening to themselves talk. Joe (Gene Hackman) and his posse of semantics have an inexplicable for random screaming and dish out the similes like hyper-caffeinated English teachers. Theodore Shapiro’s pumping score steals from Ennio Morricone’s Untouchables yet it’s the glorious accouterment to a ferocious airport scenario that does wonders with airplane wings and patrol cars. Once Joe and the gang snag their precious metal, the who’s-scamming-who theatrics kick in to predicable effect. Aside from Mamet’s pyrotechnic diarrhea of the mouth, there’s nothing to differentiate Heist from Frank Oz’s The Score. Mamet’s pick-my-favorite-one-liner shtick is as tiresome as his elementary engagement of noir idiom. Ricky Jay makes Mamet-speak crackle but Danny De Vito and Rebecca Pidgeon sound like refugees from bad Frankenheimer. Everyone has a tailormade byline: Joe (“My motherfucker is so cool that when he sleeps, sheep count him!”; Pidgeon’s wooden femme-fatale (“I’m the go-getter, you tell me what to get.”); Sam Rockwell’s yes-man (something about being “young, hung and full of cum.”); and so on and so on and so on. As postmodern as it is painfully archaic, Heist sees Chinese-baby cute, women-as-broads and guns-as-pieces. Heist wisely does away with moral litmus tests—as far as the audience is concerned, Joe works hard for the Swiss gold. With little breathing room for emotional high-stakes, Heist is little more than pompous Mametisms on parade.
- Warner Bros.
- 107 min
- David Mamet
- David Mamet
- Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay, Christian Maguire, Patti LuPone, Karen Cliché, Christopher Kaldor, Andreas Apergis, Tony Calabretta
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: