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Mann's Feature Film Debut Served Brilliantly on a Must Have Blu-Ray
on 3 February 2015
Michael Mann's feature film debut is a neon drenched noir that showcases the usual plot threads of the genre, outlaws treading the fine line between professionalism and survival that plays host to key set pieces cumulates in a tragic and bleak conclusion (in this case being safe break ins using modified power tools that makes the viewer marvel at the ingenuity and the method of use and a finale that will leave audiences applauding but divided on whether it's a happy ending or not) Like most neon noirs Thief is an exercise of style and cinematic craftsmanship, and with Michael Mann at the helm Thief goes that extra mile depicting the cynical world the antihero inhabits. Backed up by a career best performance by Caan, whose performance tries to balance style with characterisation, and a synthesized Tangerine Dream score that will long stick out (it's a major shame that an official soundtrack containing all the music hasn't been released) Overall Thief is a must see for any film fan and a vital purchase for Mann fans.
As for the blu ray. Let's get the obvious out of the way first; if you own a copy of Thief on DVD, then bin it (or use it as a coaster) because Thief is a marvel on blu-ray. Having previously owned the Criterion edition which had a 4K resolution remaster that was breathtaking in picture and sound, I can safely say that the Arrow edition uses the same print. The Director's Cut (which is on disc one) is equally as good as the Criterion edition. The blue colour filters are the same, and the sharpness in some of the scenes are identical with the Criterion edition. What does differ however is the evident grain on the Arrow version, although this is a very minor note and should not dissuade you from purchasing the Arrow edition. Sound is also the same, the dialogue was crisp, and the score was beautifully delivered. However where the two editions do differ is in extras, and if it's extras you want, than the Arrow edition is the one to go for. The main extra is the original theatrical cut that is included on the second disc; although there isn't much of a difference between the two cuts, the theatrical cut has not been given the same resotration treatment as the Director's Cut. The picture is okay and the sound (2.0 PCM only) is okay also. Informative and retrospective, Arrow have taken the time to issue extras that are both enlightening and entertaining. One such example is the 2014 interview with James Caan who talks about his experiences on the film. A similar extra exists on the Criterion edition, but it is way too short and barely tells anything at all. Not to mention the slipcase and changeable covers are a real treat.
Overall this is a must have for any film fan, and for those of you who, like me, imported the Criterion edition, then you sell it as quickly as you can and get this wonderful edition.