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Heist (2001): Dock of Games

Heist (David Mamet, 2001)

[originally posted 26Nov2001]

A montage of the principal actors adorns the movie poster.

Somewhere in there is a single man waiting to get out.

Beware: if you go to see a David Mamet film expecting a linear time, you’re going to have problems.

The mind that brought us the best con movie ever, House of Games, returns to the life of the small-time crook who wants to be big-time with just as much gusto as panache as before. Mantegna has been replaced with flavor du jour Gene Hackman, and former Mamet wife Lindsay Crouse has been replaced with present Mamet wife Rebecca Pidgeon, but otherwise, your small time con artists (Hackman, Pidgeon, Delroy Lindo, and Mamet regular Ricky Jay) are shooting for a brass ring well outside their sphere of influence. Nothing unusual. Mamet throws the monkeywrenches into the works in this one with a small-time mob boss (Danny DeVito) and his layabout nephew (Sam Rockwell, late of The Green Mile and Galaxy Quest); mob boss says that nephew must come along on the job, and crime ring leader agrees.

Complications ensue.

As usual with Mamet, there are many more layers than are let on at any given time. Crosses, double-crosses, and triple-crosses abound. Every character has an angle, and no one is to be trusted. Because of that, it’s a movie that requires excessive attention to detail on the part of the viewer; this is likely to make the majority of the public ignore the film, but, like House of Games, it will develop a following among those who are willing to go back and watch movies four or five times to analyze everything that needs analyzed.

Wonderful. Easily one of the ten best of the year. ****

 


Trailer.

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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