Friday, 27 June 2014

Review - Thick as Thieves (2009 - Dir. Mimi Leder)

We finally reach the last review from the first round of the FA Cup of Actors with Radha Mitchell's replay with David Warbeck. Surely Mitchell has to go through after Warbeck's pathetic attempt at goal with Rat Man. Let's see if she can pull a half decent performance out of the bag with Thick as Thieves

Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas star as a couple of thieves intent on pilfering some Faberge eggs (an interesting true fact is that Faberge could see that they were heading down a path of business suicide producing beautifully ornate eggs so they decided to start knocking out mass produced aftershave in the form of Brut to keep the loan sharks at bay). Radha Mitchell enters the fray as the Goddaughter of Freeman and as love interest for swarthy Banderas. Predictably, Freeman doesn't approve.

As you'd expect from the people making this film, it's entertaining in a 'just let it wash over you' kind of way. The heist is nothing special but contains all of the requisite parts: casing the joint, preparation and actually carrying out the robbery including some completely rubbish red lasers that Giant Haystacks would be able to walk through without tripping the alarm. How they don't manage to get the prone form of Banderas sliding along on a skateboard type contraption, I'll never know. There's nothing here that you haven't seen a thousand times before.

In fact, the whole film is a bit lacklustre. I think this is partly due to the script and the casting. The writing lacks any real kind of wit and doesn't give the actors any help in building on-screen relationships. It doesn't help either that there isn't any chemistry between Mitchell and Banderas or for that matter, any rapport between Banderas and Freeman. It's not that any of them does a bad job individually, but when they are put together, they don't gel.

It's a bit like Costa Rica's recent performance against England: they know they're through and so they do the least they can do to secure the top spot in the group. Everything about Thick as Thieves plays it nice and safe, keeping it tight at the back but with no real inclination to surge forward and score. The director also did Deep Impact which I quite liked, although on the strength of this I can see why she hasn't done any more features.

As for Radha Mitchell, I'm more used to her being terrorised by various nasty creatures such as Pyramid Head or a huge crocodile so it was a minor surprise to see her saucing it up here. In a night club, she has to perform a slightly embarrassing dance with Banderas while he stands there still, pretending that he hasn't got any slinky latin dance moves just waiting to burst out from his hips. But to balance this, she does get a classy shot in her underwear. Acting wise it's not her best performance, yet it's not offensively bad, nice and safe like everything else.

All of this adds up to the fact that she's through to the second round. But like Costa Rica, she needs to up her game to fight off the much stronger threat of Ellen Page.

If you like this you could also try:
Rififi, The Killing.

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