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Heist (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jul 29, 2020


HEIST (2001)

Starring Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay, Jim Frangione and Patti Lupone.

Screenplay by David Mamet.

Directed by David Mamet.

Distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures.  109 minutes.  Rated R.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if David Mamet made a Quentin Tarantino film? No, neither had I, but here comes Heist to demonstrate anyway. Ostensibly a continuation of Mamet’s obsession with con-men that has also created House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner (both films are superior to this one, I’m afraid) it is actually more like his first gangster movie.

Gene Hackman is as always wonderful playing an aging thief who wants to make one last big score so he can retire. (Are there any other type of aging thieves in heist films?) Danny DeVito is terrific as a back-stabbing fence who is forcing his hand by withholding the spoils from Hackman and his gang’s last job. Delroy Lindo and Mamet regulars Ricky Jay and Rebecca Pidgeon (Mamet’s wife) bite lustily into Mamet’s toughly poetic dialogue. But good writing is a given here.

The plot is a tiny bit tired though, the dealings and double-dealings have a bit of a “been there done that” feel to them. Heist is minor league Mamet, but even small-time Mamet blows most of the competition out of the water.   (11/01)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright © 2001 All rights reserved. Posted: November 9, 2001.

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