on November 9, 2009
The prior reviews of The Maiden Heist have given a good idea of the story of this film. To those I have some non-spoiler comments.
The Maiden Heist, to judge from the clapboards, was originally titled The Maiden Lady from the painting that Christopher Walken is obsessed with. This film answers the question if museum guards actually like the art they protect. The three guards of the story - Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and William H. Macey - are all obsessed with different pieces of art. They feel very protective about their art so when they learn that the entire exhibit will be moved to a museum in Denmark and replaced by some avant-guard art, they decide to save their favorites.
Morgan Freeman plays a soft-spoken affable man who enjoys drawing and painting; William H. Macey's character claims he was a Marine but changes his combat stories and Christopher Walken is a quiet homebody who daydreams about protecting his Maiden Lady from ant harm. Marcia Gay Harden has a marvelous supporting role as Christopher Walken's wife who-must-be-obeyed.
The fun of the film is that the three guards fumble their way through the heist. There are many funny scenes in the film but also some that stretch the imagination. The conclusion of the film is one of real charm and understanding. The DVD comes with bonus features that include a making of the film, deleted scenes and bloopers. The many scenes that were deleted struck me as wise decisions. The performances are what make this film and are excellent even when the material is lacking.
Even though Marcia Gay Harden has a supporting role here as Christopher Walken's retro-laden wife, she plays pitch perfect the supplemental but powerful wife. Otherwise, the only other stand-out surprise would be William H Macy's bold outing as a bronze statue obsessed museum guard (right down to the several nude scenes where he shows off his impressive 59-year old muscular tone).
The story follows three museum guards as they decide to pull off a heist of their favorite artwork after the museum sells the pieces off. Each of these guys have their own weird little nuances that make them the perfect trio of dysfunctional museum guards, but most of their backgrounds are never really delved into. Most of what we get are three old guys trying to be something more than they ever have been - but in a low-key semi-realistic kind of way. Morgan Freeman plays the affable "sexually questionable" (from the making-of) character which just did not feel right, and Christopher Walken really only gets to be himself in the opening sequence (a great shoot-out dream sequence - loved it). The supplements are decent and include:
* 17:45 minute making-of. It is a little too heavy towards being reliant on film clips but the remaining half of the documentary gives some average background on what the four A-listers thought about their characters. Gives some good insight into why Marcia Gay Harden is so retro in this film.
* 12:19 minutes of deleted scenes. Glad they were cut - especially the corny museum guard supporting cast trying to be funny.
* 3 minutes of bloopers. Funny once or twice.
* Commentary by the main crew. Unless you really need to know how great it is to work with the main four actors then just stick with the making of.
Have to admit I love the writing at the end of the film with regards to Marcia Gay Harden's character - she is a beauty. 3.5 for the film and .5 for the extras. Not an action film or an outright comedy, but just a light take on some old guys trying to make their masterpieces stay in their lives.
Some of these reviews seem a bit harsh for this enjoyable and endearing film. Let me share what I liked most about it. Christopher Walken.
He stares at a painting entitled "The Lonely Maiden", and has fallen deeply in love with it over the years, while his very attentive and loving wife (Harden) waits patiently for him to come back around to her. She does not know about his love affair with the painting, and she comes off as kind and doting. SHE is the lonely maiden. I figured that out early. Walken is entranced with the painting, when all the while the true lonely maiden was right in front of him. Of course, he loves his wife and is attached to her forever (you can tell that they have an old-fashioned and sadly-gone view of marriage--stick it out to the end no matter what). And as he plans the heist with his fellow security guards, he keeps his wife's needs in mind the whole time. There is also a very sweet happy ending for these two (Shhhh).
Macy's character is married but we only know that because he said so. Macy's character is an odd one. He has some dubious military training and takes leadership in the heist. And he likes to get naked in front of a nude male statue... nothing more. Really. Just strip down and pose in front of it.
Freeman's character likes cats (and obviously has no wife). Any man who likes cats is okay in my book!
This heist movie is fun and friendly; we enjoyed rollicking around town with these three old guys.
BOTTOM LINE: if you like grumpy-old-men, this is like not-so-grumpy old men. They make you laugh and wince, and you may still be smiling when you're done. There are also some hilarious bloopers in the special features. SWEET!
Enjoy the movie!
Ellen C Maze, author
Quirky characters and a fun plot make this a movie a great escapist mini-adventure. I'm drawn to slightly off-kilter films and this one fits the bill. Three men, Macy, Walken and Freeman each have a passion for one particular painting or statue in the museum where they work. After years and years of emotional connectedness to their art they discover the pieces will be traveling to Denmark. When following the art, uprooting their lives to be with their paintings/statues, proves impossible, they plan the next best thing...grabbing their pieces and making them their own.
Almost slapstick at times, the film moves fairly briskly after the plan is hatched and the pieces begin to fall into place. Walken is deadpan and anxious and charmingly himself. Freeman plays an accomplished painter who has painted "his" painting many, many times but lacks the certain aura. His cats keep him company when he is not obsessing over his lovely painting. Macy plays a military man who may or may not have served anywhere even though his tales imply near-superhero skills.
Those who don't like slow-moving character pieces or artsy-quirky fun probably should skip it. Also, if you don't particularly want to see Macy's naked behind several times, well, this isn't the film for you. He poses. Often. Not creepy as much as it is just weird.
on October 25, 2009
It went straight to video, apparently because of trouble with the company that owned the distribution rights, but if "Wild Hogs" made money, this shouldn't have had any trouble.
The plot involves two museum security guards who've fallen in love with two paintings, and a third guard who has . . . some other relationship with a statue, destined to be sold to another museum and replaced by suitable horrific modern art repellent to the guys, namely Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and William Macy. By the title you can tell what their solution is, so I need say no more about that.
The tone is light, comedic, but there are no real out-loud laughs, despite best efforts. Obviously the acting is very good, the chemistry works, but there are very large holes in reason and common sense. That shouldn't bother you if you don't expect too much out of the movie, but it might be rather annoying at times to some. Still, overall it worked reasonably well, too bad it didn't get a chance at the mall.
on April 16, 2013
I came across "The Maiden Heist" on television, and, intrigued by the description, recorded it. My husband and I both enjoyed it so much we purchased the DVD -- and were very happy to get it for under $5. The story is a very funny and endearing one about three museum security guards who are approaching retirement age and who have just learned that their museum will be selling their three favorite paintings to a gallery in Scandinavia. They concoct a plan to steal the paintings and replace them with copies -- the title refers to Christopher Walken's favorite painting, "The Maiden". The characters are quirky and lovable and we couldn't help but cheer them on. Perhaps you will too....
THE MAIDEN HEIST (2008) directed by Peter Hewitt (ZOOM, see my review) is one of those gentle, hilarious comedies that remind me of Australian and British type things. (Hewitt is British.) It is a DELIGHT and not a single real swear word throughout the marvelous little jewel of a film.
George (William H. Macy), Roger (Christopher Walken), and Charles (Morgan Freeman) are hilarious everyday-Joe security guards at a Boston museum of art. Each has his true love - a work of art for each one - and they sigh with complete and total LOVE just seeing their artworks. One day they hear about a complete move: a Denmark museum has decided to buy the works in exchange for some horrid artworks that are thankfully only mentioned and not shown.
The boys decide they will steal their particular coveted works. For George it is a bronze of a naked man called "The Bronze Warrior"; for Roger it is "The Lonely Maiden" painting and for gay Charles it is "Woman with Cats" or something - all are fictional works and I love that detail. Each work shows us a bit of what each man truly is inside. Their plan, though I thought it way too easy, works like a charm.
With a team like Walken, Freeman and Macy it cannot be anything but great - the film never disappoints. Though it reminded me a little too often of THE SUNSHINE BOYS, it works so well on that simple, happy level. Yet there is a real tension in their plans, and the way the kinks get smoothed along the way.
This was filmed at Boston Commons and I like that - too many Canadian locations for my blood nowadays. The performances, many of them ad-lib, are spectacular but quiet. Though I know nearly nothing about this, since I never saw it new and I hear it was direct-to-video, it needed to impress no one.
Yet it is one of the most impressive films I've ever enjoyed. I wish my parents were here to see it too.
And if you are an artist, well, there's no limit to the joy in identifying with these sensitive, tender-hearted art thieves (I prefer to call them "defenders"). Get this classic. You'll never regret it.
I saw this funny and poignant movie a few days ago and it is still in my mind. It is quirky and fun as well. Anyone who loves art and appreciates a good laugh will enjoy this movie. It has a great cast including Morgan Freeman, Marcia Gay Harden and William Macy.
The gist of the story is about three security guards who have been working for many years in a famous museum. Each of them has fallen in love with a particular piece of art. When they hear that the museum is planning to send the pieces they love to Denmark, they come up with a way to steal their favorite pieces and keep them for posterity.
I highly recommend this film for Indie lovers and those who like something different from the 'big screen'.
on September 7, 2014
I came across this movie while channel surfing a few months back, and it looked like it would be a good movie to watch. So, I recorded it on our DVR, and man am I glad that I did. It has an all-star cast line-up, so how can you go wrong. It's a great comedy movie that again the entire family can enjoy watching together.
Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walker, and William H. Macy are superb in this 2009 comedy about three elderly museum security guards who fell in love with three different pieces of art, feel compelled to look at them, and can't endure the idea that they will be sent away and they will never see them again. Walker is impassioned about his job because he is able to stand transfixed for long periods of time in front of the painting of "The Maiden." He even turns down his wife's repeated request that he retire and the two move to Florida. He is devastated when he hears that the museum decided to sell some of their paintings to Denmark, including "The Maiden." He notices Freeman, another guard, standing in front of another painting and crying. The two talk together and Freeman reveals that he loves his painting as much as Walker loves "The Maiden." He suggests that they find a way to steal the paintings before they are sent to Denmark. But how?
Freeman brings Walker into the security room and shows him a security video, not seen by others, of a night guard who loves to stand naked and pose in front of a statue. This is Macy, who views himself as a marine fighter and military strategist. He develops a plan of how to secure copies of the two paintings and the statue and switch them with the originals when the museum is packing the art works to send to Denmark. Several things go wrong. Walker's wife's desire to retire in Florida creates some complications. Macy's overwhelming need to get undressed before the statue causes all kinds of problems. Viewers will enjoy the humor throughout the film and will wonder if the American and Denmark museums will be fooled by the fakes.