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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 29 March 2006
This is my no. 1 heist film (an apt name). I find it more tense than Heat, darkly comic than The Italian Job (which is more camp comedy).
It's the plot and the dialogue ('Why did the Chicken cross the road? Because the Road crossed the Chicken.') that does it for me everytime. Everybody plays it cool without feeling the need to wear matching black suits and sun-glasses (a la Reservoir Dogs). It's true the twists keep comming, and the ending may be a downer for some (Though I found it very satisfying) - but if you're not up for that then perhaps you shouldn't be watching a Heist film - these things were built for Twists and Turns.
Hackman proves he's one of the greatest actors of all time kicking ass and spitting venom with the best of them (much like Clint Eastwood 35 years ago). Lindo is on top form and an equal sparring partner to Hackman. But it's in Devito's performance that you may find the bigest suprise. Those who've seen him from family films like Twins, Junior and Matilda may want to look away - He is just a right bad-ass in this film. There isn't an ounce of remorse in his character. It suprised me how nasty he can be.
Unfortunately it's never gotten the same attention as other lesser films (Ocean's 11/12). But it's a diamond in the rough, and at this price is a steal. If you're still undecided, I leave you with one of Hackman's lines:
'I tried to imagine a man smarter than myself. Then I tried to think, "What would he do?"'
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 December 2013
Playwright David Mamet has written a lot of films, and directed a few. They are a mixed bag, but for my money this is one of the very best.

Gene Hackman heads up a small group of thieves, their fence cheats them, and insists on one last job, with his slippery nephew along for the ride.

The cast is uniformly excellent, playing hard as nails professionals, with Mamet regular Ricky Jay (a magician) being particularly likeable. There is no shortage of good lines, perhaps too many, it takes real acting to deliver endless one-liners in anything approaching a natural way.

The first half sets up the situation, and the second half delivers twist after twist, with Hackman and his crew only just managing to stay one step ahead.

Despite all these potential strengths, what I really love about the film is the little quiet moments, Hackman just walking in some woods with a shotgun at the opening, or working on his boat, the little knowing tells that the crew are just really good at working together. And of course, it is another chance to see Hackman deliver an acting masterclass.
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Heist is written and directed by David Mamet. It stars Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell, Rebbecca Pidgeon and Ricky Jay. Music is by Theodore Shapiro and cinematography by Robert Elswit.

Joe Moore (Hackman) and his small band of thieves are "coerced" into taking on one last big job by their shifty fence Mickey Bergman (DeVito). But when Bergman's nephew Jimmy Silk (Rockwell) is sent along on the heist with them, it could prove to be a recipe for disaster?

The "one last job" theme is a familiar plot device in many a crime and noir picture, but as Mamet proves here, it can still remain fresh if given its own sheen. Divisive amongst Mamet's fans and seen as a lesser light in the director's neo-noir output, Heist improves greatly upon a second viewing. In fact it holds up as a clinically executed piece of noirish cinema, it's smart, crafty and laced with essence of cool.

You're a piece of work!

I came all the way from China in a matchbox.

Structured around twists and tricks, where nothing is ever as it seems - including the wonderfully ambiguous finale - Heist positively thrives on the snap, crackle and pop of Mamet's dialogue, dialogue that comes trickling off the tongues of characters whose loyalties/dis-loyalties are never 100% certain. Quite often what is being said is in clipped format, where the meaning is different to what is actually being said, while visual exchanges, also, sometimes mean more than it appears at first glance. Make no bones about it, this is no ordinary caper movie, it's labyrinthine in plotting and the director toys with the conventions of the formula.

My MOFO is so cool when sheep go to bed they count him!

Visually Mamet and DOP Elswit keep the colours smooth, but they do throw in some interesting angles and use smoky lenses to accentuate the possibility of cloudy means and motives. Acting performances are mostly excellent. Hackman underplays it perfectly as a world weary crim who may or may not be one step ahead of the game? Lindo is muscular and cool, Jay a stoic side-kick, DeVito slimy and Pidgeon (Mamet's wife) provides layers as the fulcrum femme. Only real disappointment comes with Rockwell as the poisonous adder in the thieves nest. A few years away from becoming the great actor he is now, Rockwell here lacks a dangerous dynamism, a raw sexuality to really make the integral character work to its potential.

Elsewhere there's flaws, such as the key heist involving an aeroplane that stretches credibility to breaking point; a shame since the opening robbery that introduces us to the characters is brilliantly constructed, and the big "shoot-out" scene lacks the energy to really raise the pulse; but even within that scene is a great moment as DeVito's Mickey Bergman, in amongst the flying bullets, shouts out the question: "why can't we just talk?", why indeed? You see, in Mamet's badly under valued neo-noir, talk is everything. Beautifully so. 8/10
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on 31 May 2002
A very enjoyable movie, full of twists and turns (some more predictable than others). Gene Hackman carries the lead with his usual style and competence, supporting cast less so. Fan though I am of Danny De Vito, I still find it difficult to take him in a serious role. Without giving anything away, my biggest disappointment was where the story goes to at the end because it's not in keeping with the reast of the movie. Although it's probably the most realistic option it wasn't what the viewer necessarily wanted to see - not this viewer anyway. Definitely worth a watch.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 March 2015
Written and directed by David Mamet, the Heist is an intelligent and intricately plotted film about a bunch of professional criminals and the circumstances surrounding a particular robbery. Suspicion abounds as the sincerity of the characters are always in doubt. There are the inevitable plot twists and double crosses, but the film’s quality comes from the sharp dialogue and calibre of acting. Gene Hackman delivers a masterclass as the focal point of the film ably supported by the rest of the cast. Marvellously entertaining.
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on 29 May 2002
When the film starts off it goes straight into the action and minus a few scenes it doesn't stop until the credits start rolling. With a brilliant story line and what seems like a million twists it's hard to take your eyes of the screen. Gene Hackman once again shows how capable he is and engages with the audience as soon as the film starts and although Danny Divito only acts a small part in the film he plays this part excellently.
The film itself keeps you occupied from beginning to end and I like the way then when you do begin to get bored something will happen to spark it back into life, but as the film gets near to the end you get fed up with twists in the plot and although I said they were a good thing at the beginning of the review you can easily guess what is going to happen next because they are very repetitive but this really is the only downside to the film.
The DVD extras are a little short in numbers with a theatrical trailer and an interactive menu as the only extras, this is below standards for any DVD.
Overall this film deserves the 4 stars I've given it with the only things keeping it from having a 5 star rating being the guessable twists to the plot and the poor DVD extras but its still worth buying.
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on 9 January 2004
Heist, i think is one of the best modern heist movies and it's a shame it has such bad write ups, apart from it's thrilling plot, Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito deliver fantastic performances, I admit this film does have a lot of twists but i think that just makes it more exciting, the first time you watch the film it can be a bit confusing with all of it's twists however it really is a brilliant film with an unexpected ending.
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on 12 July 2013
"Heist" has all the twists and turns and the wisecracking dialogue you'd expect from a David Mamet movie. Yet it is also his most sterile of the ones made up to this point (2001). "Heist" simply overdoes it in every sense, and at times it only looks like a more violent and fast paced, but less elegant and witty variation of "The Spanish Prisoner" which I'd rather recommend. I also aggree with the viewer who remarked that while Hackman is excellent, other actors like Sam Rockwell are not given the opportunity to show how fine they really are. An entertaining but hollow experience.
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2013
I remembered this as being a smarter snappier script than it proved to be, perhaps it has aged poorly or its just less impressive after years of seeing other smart heist movies. I still enjoyed it however, Hackman at his best and a young Sam Rockwell. If you like Mamet worth viewing.
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VINE VOICEon 16 December 2003
When one member of an ice-cool gang gets recognised while on a job their future plans are thrown into disarray. They, however, decide to carry out a further job but their ‘fence’ (Danny DeVito) sends someone along as security.
While Gene Hackman pulls off yet another fine portrayal as the gang’s leader, watching ‘Heist’ is a bit of a matter of seen it all before. Sam Rockwell is not given the script to work with and so is nowhere as good as he is in ‘Welcome To Collinwood’.
The twists and turns can not make up for a severe case of deja vu. ‘Heist’ has a yacht in it which made it a wee bit more interesting for this reviewer! Run of the mill.
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