Botched Job

After venting his spleen in theater and film for a quarter century, it seems like David Mamet should be ready to divulge something human about humanity. Sure, his fervid fans may point to Mamet’s Pulitzer and sing hosannas to the author’s frothing hucksters and sexual miscreants, but after all the cock-a-doodle-doo, what remains?

In the case of Heist, not much. With a movie like this, the viewer’s biggest challenge is to survive fits of yawning so violent they could disrupt ornithic migratory patterns.

Gene Hackman plays a sharp-witted thief named Joe Moore who foolishly allows himself to be caught on video during Heist‘s opening robbery. He decides to cut his losses, quit the game and sail his handmade boat to paradise with his cunning young wife, Fran (Mamet’s wife, Rebecca Pidgeon). Naturally, this news upsets Moore’s chums in crime, smooth Bobby Blane (Delroy Lindo) and rumpled Don “Pinky” Pincus (Mamet regular Ricky Jay). Even more disturbed is Moore’s fence, Bergman (Danny DeVito), who refuses to distribute the spoils unless Moore agrees to do — oh, God, is it really … yes, it is— one last job before retiring.

Bergman, who spends the entire movie telling fuckers to fucking fuck themselves, is not messing around; he sends his arrogant nephew Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell) to keep tabs on Moore. In turn, Moore deploys Fran to monitor Silk’s moves, which include stripping her, bedding her and generally stealing her from her husband. This leads to one of the movie’s few intentional giggles, when Bergman asks Moore, “As rational men, don’t we have to doubt her?”

As the heavy, DeVito is about as threatening as Charlotte Church, and Rockwell — truly creepy in The Green Mile — prompts more annoyance than tension. Our lead himself only comes alive in spasms of brutality. Ultimately, Heist is only about mean old Moore claiming the gold, melting it into huge bars and carting it away, presumably to build himself a gilded cage.

Categories: Movies