Heist (2001)

Rating: B-

Dir: David Mamet
Star: Gene Hackman, Sam Rockwell, Danny DeVito, Rebecca Pidgeon

After straying off-base with State and Main, Mamet returns to familiar territory here, crooks and conmen, with Hackman as the thief coerced into one last job (hey, aren’t they always?) by Danny DeVito. Mamet’s eye for the details of the crimes is fabulous, and watching them unfurl are perhaps the most satisfying sections of the movie: the moments when you suddenly realise what’s actually going on are delightful. Most of the cast do justice to Mamet’s dialogue, though you’ll probably be grateful there’s no sex scene between Hackman and his “wife” Pidgeon (a mere 33 years his younger, by my reckoning).

Her role is crucial, not least at the end, and her loyalties seem less and less certain as events unfold – I’m still not entirely sure whose side she was on. The law of diminishing returns eventually takes its toll – Mamet believes that one good twist deserves another, but ennui set in and eventually, you’d be more surprised and shocked if someone actually was being honest. No such luck: the double-crosses keep on coming. And coming. It’s understandable if the characters are somewhat forgotten about in all the treachery.