This has definitely got to be one of the top films I have seen in the past year. I normally don't get interested in seeing movies that glorify crime or make the hero of the story someone who weilds a gun and steals things that don't belong to them, but this movie surpassed my expectations.
I am a fan of Gene Hackman, and I really enjoyed the entire cast, all of whom were aptly cast for this film... but the best actors, casting and story isn't enough if all the things aren't tied together well by the director.
Mamet should be proud. The film is forever dated as being pre-Sept. 11 as the big heist of the film takes place at an airport, but if your memory of how things were before 9/11 aren't too foggy already, you'll appreciate that this was a well conceived and even plausible plot.
The story assumes that the viewer is intelligent and does not insult logic or waste your time. There were a few plot twists I anticipated, but far more that I did not expect.
Some gun play and sexually suggestive scenes, but the real draw to this film at the cerebral level... this film will keep you enthralled as you try to figure out who is honest, who is a betrayer and who knows what's going on. You will be surprised many times during this film.
The language is at gutter level and simply is not suitable for kids... but this is an otherwise fantastic motion picture.
on December 22, 2001
"My guy is so cool, when he goes to sleep, sheep count him." So says "Pinky" (Ricky Jay)as he describes his "boss", Joe Moore (Gene Hackman). The same thing can be said for "Heist". Here's a movie that has a razor-sharp script full if wit, style, and excitement. I think it's fair to say that David Mamet writes some of the best dialogue I've ever heard. It's a known fact that he uses a metronome in order to keep his dialogue to have a certain rhythm to it. There are so many great lines in this movie it's impossible to recite them all here. I would love it, if this movie got an Osacr nomination for it's screenplay. I honestly can't understand why so many people have been as harsh as they have been with this film. I think it's one of the best films of 2001! Everything seems so perfect in this movie. Who could ask for more from a heist movie. I mean, the directing is great. Mamet knows the genre very well. And has proven this with films like "House of Games", and "The Spanish Prisoner". His script as I said before is amazing. The acting by Gene Hackman is the tops. Here's a guy that is such an old pro he can take any role you give him and turn it into something great. This is not to say that the part of Joe Moore is uninteresting. It most certainly isn't! Danny De Vito is suprisingly good in this film. At first I thought, this guy is all wrong for this movie. The part he's playing is an old-fashion tough-guy villian. For the obvious reasons, this doesn't seem to fit De Vito, or so I thought. I have to admit, he is very entertaining to watch as well. Everyone it seems, has a problem with Rebecca Pidgeon. People tend to think that she's out of place in a Mamet film. Some think she delivers the lines wrong. Though I've never thought this of her, this is her best role! She reminds me of a modern, hip Veronica Lake, Barbara Stanywick type of femme fatale. She is just as good has Hackman in this movie. And would be a great film to prove to those who dislike her, that she is a very good actress, who does work well in Mamet's style of filmmaking. Delroy Lindo has some great lines as well, but, I can't reveal them here. He has some good moments on screen and works well with Hackman and the rest fo the cast. "Heist" has a very old-fashion feel to it. It reminds me of Kubrick's "The Killing" in several ways. This is what I like about the movie. I love that old-fashion feel. I love the acting and the directing and the script. I love all the plot-twist that happen, but, must admit, I took one star off because I felt near the end of the film, I'd say, the last 15-20 minutes of the film, it just tries too hard. It's one suprise after another only Mamet has too much of a good thing going here.
"Heist" is probably one of the best heist movies I've seen this year. And we had a lot of them come out, like "The Score" and "Sexy Beast". This is a movie I wish the American public would have paid more attention to when it was in wider release. If you still haven't seen it, please try to find a theatre that's playing it. I think the American public really missed the mark with this one. It's an enjoyable film by one of the best and hardest working playwright\screenwriters we have around today. David Mamet's "Heist" is a modern classic that all other heist films must now be measured against!
Heist (David Mamet, 2001)
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 replace with flavor du jour Gene Hackman, and former Mamet wife Lindsay Crouse has been replaced with Mamet-wife du jour 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.
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. ****
on October 11, 2001
I had the pleasure of seeing Heist on October 8th at the 24th Mill Valley Film Festival, when I had first seen the trailer for it I thought it had far to many cute lines and holywood lok to it. I was wrong, the film did contain plenty of not cute lines but smart funny lines that only added to the audiences enjoyement, the film has some hollywood aspects to it but it is a very well made hollywood film it does not neccesarlily keep you on the edge of your seat but the characters and plot twists keep the film great and enjoyable all the way until the end. It is hard to describe it without giving away to much, but Gene Hackman plays an aging thief who is very precise, tricky and smart in his work, Delroy Lindo is his partner and helps him carry out all of the 'jobs' they do. Each of these characters ar wonderfully played by the actors. Ricky Jay plays another memeber of thier team and deffenitely adds to the humor of the film, Danny DeVito plays a greedy, sleezy crime lord who is mutual with Gene Hackman on the love of gold and wealth, Rebbeca Pidgeon who plays Gene Hackmans girlfriend as well as a partner in crime also does well in showing uncertainty as to weather Gene Hackman is using her or not, Sam Rockwell plays Danny DeVitos nephew and a younger aspiring criminal who is requested by DeVito to be a part of Gene Hackmans team of thieves, this adds to the tention, because SAmis also a crminal in training. Overall Heist is probably Gene Hackmans best film since the Frenc Connection as well as one of the best crime films Hollywood has produced.
on September 5, 2012
In order to do this review I must compare this film with another 2001 heist film called The Score. Both films deal with thieves, and both deal with fences.
Heist is well-conceived film that has a fantastic cast. Sam Moore (Played By Hackman) is the leader of a crew of thieves that pull off a bank heist in broad daylight. Problem is, Sam is caught on camera due to a snafu in their plan. He decides to retire from the business with his cut of the money. The problem is, his fence, Mickey Bergman, doublecrosses him into working one final heist. This does not sit well with Sam or his crew, but in the end they have no choice. The job is to hijack a Swiss plane filled with gold plates. This time Jimmy Silk (Bergman's Cousin) accompanies the group at Bergman's insistence. After a series of cons and a quick grab, the gold is stored on a van... or is it? During the setup, a trooper checks up on the crew and Hackman cons the cop. This is where Pinky's great line comes into play as he tells Silk not to start the car engine. "He's so cool that when he sleeps sheep count him." Great line and great quote!
After he plane is hijacked, Bergman's cousin does a double cross of Sam, knocking him out and then driving off with the gold. After a near miss with an 18-wheeler, Silk spins off the road (A Contrivance) and checking the rear of the van he realizes the "gold" is nothing but ball bearings and washers. This sets off the climax of the film, which ends with a gunfight at a local pier, but only after poor Pinky is murdured trying to save his baby niece.
Mamet's script was convoluted and had one too many endings. The climax of the film should have been its end, not the last scene where Jimmy Silk is duped again! The guy has to be the stupidest crook in all film history! He's beaten up by Lindo in the beginning of the film, and by the end of it he is conned no less than thrice!!
That leads me to another facet of this film. The crews led by Sam are grifters as well as thieves! Unlike Robert De Niro's character in The Score (Who Is A True Safe Cracker), Sam's people are smash and grab men. None of them appear to have any safecracking skills, although they are well skilled at what they do, they did not have the nuanced perfectionist trade that DeNiro's character, Nick Wells has. Wells would have been a perfect addition to this crew led by Hackman's character Sam. Not only that, but Nick's fence, Max, was not a doublecrosser. He stood by his word and if anything would give his workers better deals in order to keep them.
I recommend this movie if you like heist movies. Also, as recommended by the late great Siskel & Ebert show, you should see Blood & Wine; The Friends of Eddie Coyle; Straight Time. Those are some other really good heist movies. See them and you will be pleased. The only thing that keeps Heist from a Five Star rating is it has too many convolutions; unnecessary plot twists that could and should have been avoided. It is a Three and a Half Star movie I round up to Four Stars. The Score, by comparison was straight forward to the end. Although the doublecross in the end was unexpected and a real surprise to me. I enjoyed that movie as well. Buy both The Score and Heist and you will not be disappointed.
A. Nathaniel Wallace, Jr.
on October 25, 2015
One of the saddest things to happen to acting since 2000 was the retirement of Gene Hackman. I don't begrudge the man his leisure, but I surely do miss him being in movies. This gem is one of his finest. Credit goes not only to him but to Ricky Jay, Delroy Lindo, Danny DeVito, and of course most of all to David Mamet. This film came out shortly after The Score if memory serves, and it impressed just as much as that star-studded vehicle disappointed. The dialogue is impeccable as in any Mamet film, and the story is just as tight. There are films that Mamet and Hackman did without one another I like just as much as this film, but I am glad those two giants got together to give us this before Hackman rode off into the sunset.
The DVD is an unremarkable affair. I can't from memory think of anything at all special about it. But when you're presenting a film as great as this one, you don't need bells and whistles.
on October 31, 2015
Hackman simultaneously makes me want to be a big time robber and also informs me of what I lack to do it right. Plus we get standout performances from Danny DeVito ("Everyone wants money! That's why they call it money.") and Rebecca Pidgeon (when police have her in a corner for the caper her fellow criminal says not to worry; "That girl can talk her way out of a sunburn"). Need to see this one at least once a decade...
on October 19, 2014
The dullest part of this movie is putting the DVD into the player. Once Gene Hackman appears carrying a shotgun through a grassy field, the edge of your seat is in for some heavy-duty sitting. Fast-paced action scenes combine with skillful acting - Hackman, Danny DeVito, and Delroy Lindo - make Heist so much fun to watch that it can be enjoyed over and over again.
on March 15, 2016
I liked the twisted plot, good example of the lies people "all" tell in life, the take away "trust your instincts" & rely on yourself in life... good cast, good directing, recommended...
on June 30, 2013
A well-crafted caper, excellently cast and beautifully acted. Gene Hackman and Delroy Lindo are equally capable in the role of hero or villain, and they particularly shine when cast as likable anti-heroes; which they do in this film. Yes, the movie’s “been done before”, but with the support of veteran character actors Danny DeVito and Ricky Jay, relative newcomers (at the time) Rebecca Pidgeon and Sam Rockwell; and the always excellent characterizations and dialogue of David Mamet . . . it’s a remarkably good film. Wheels within wheels, just like a caper should have.
"Heist" is sort of the reverse side of the movie coin whose obverse side is either "Heat" or "Ronin"; totally different films, but if you like one or the other of them, you’ll likely find yourself enjoying both the differences and the similarities as you watch "Heist".
In order to keep things short and avoid the potential for spoiling plot elements, I’ll leave the more detailed review for an actual movie reviewer.