Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Art Of The Steal (2013)

The Art Of The Steal is a con/heist movie like a hundred others I could name. It's nowhere near the best of the bunch, but it passes the time pleasantly enough, thanks mainly to a great cast all having a lot of fun onscreen.

Kurt Russell is Crunch Calhoun, a thief/getaway driver who ends up doing a stint in a Polish prison thanks to a deal made by his brother, Nicky (Matt Dillon). Years later, Crunch is a stunt motorbike rider who provides some extra spectacle, in the form of some painful crash landings, for some extra cash. He has a young friend (Francie, played by Jay Baruchel) who hates watching it happen, but can't do anything to stop it, and a girlfriend (Lola, played by Katheryn Winnick) who keeps motivating him to do whatever it takes to make them some money. When a golden opportunity to pull off a major job comes along, Crunch ends up working with Nicky once again, as well as some other familiar faces from his past. He doesn't trust his brother, yet he needs him to make the whole plan work.

Written and directed by Jonathan Sobol, this is a movie that does just enough to coast by. It's clever, yet not too clever. It's derivative, yet not in a way that makes it feel as if it's directly lifting from any superior movie from this subgenre. And it is, despite its flaws, fun. The script does what it needs to do, in terms of the plot developments and twists, but it also throws in a handful of unnecessary moments that end up proving to be highly amusing. Just watch Jay Baruchel trying to bumble his way past a border guard and try not to laugh.

However, even with the decent script and direction, this would be an inferior film if it didn't have such a great ensemble cast involved. Russell is always a pleasure to watch onscreen. Always, and this performance is no different. Dillon is another performer I like seeing in movies, and I've been a big fan of Baruchel for years, so to see him alongside these actors was a real treat. Winnick isn't given much to do, but she does it well. Kenneth Welsh and Chris Diamantopoulos make up the rest of the main crew. Both are good fun, although the former has more great lines. And it's also worth mentioning Jason Jones and Terence Stamp, playing the two men who are trying to catch Calhoun and co. Jones is very amusing, as an agent who doesn't really have the experience to make people take him seriously, while Stamp is the exasperated old hand who also happens to genuinely love art.

If you're in two minds about whether or not to watch The Art Of The Steal then just flip a coin to decide. If, however, you like the main cast members as much as I do then you should have a good time. So flip the coin and then make the call when you can see how it has landed. Consider it a small moment of conning yourself in preparation for the film.



You know what else is a steal? My e-book of movie reviews, collated and put together in one massive package. Every copy sold helps me justify my obsessive viewing and review-writing to my understanding, but exasperated, wife.

The UK version can be bought here - http://www.amazon.co.uk/TJs-Ramshackle-Movie-Guide-Reviews-ebook/dp/B00J9PLT6Q/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395945647&sr=1-3&keywords=movie+guide

And American folks can buy it here - http://www.amazon.com/TJs-Ramshackle-Movie-Guide-Reviews-ebook/dp/B00J9PLT6Q/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395945752&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=TJs+ramshackle+mov

As much as I love the rest of the world, I can't keep up with all of the different links in different territories, but trust me when I say that it should be there on your local Amazon.

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