Written & Directed by: David Mamet
Starring: Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell, Rebecca Pidgeon
- Theatrical trailer
- Cast & crew filmographies
Released by: Warner Brothers
My Advice: Rent it. For now.
Joe Moore (Hackman) is a career thief who just wants to take his winnings and sail away with his lovely young wife, Fran (Pidgeon), on his lovely boat. Especially because in his most recent job, his identity was compromised and he’s vulnerable. However, when his business associate, Bergman (DeVito) decides to stiff Moore and his crew, the only road to retirement seems to be to pull one last job with Bergman’s nephew, Jimmy Silk (Rockwell), looking over his shoulder (and straight at his lovely young wife).
[ad#longpost]If this seems like your typical thief-on-the-road-to-retirement film, it’s not. And the man you can thank for that is David Mamet. He finely honed what could have been a formulaic plot into a tight rollercoaster ride through a labyrinth of twists and turns. You are given just enough information to really wonder what’s coming next–and then just as you’re about to be confused because you’ve been left mostly in the dark, whatever it is that the characters have been planning comes to light. At least you think that’s the case. Then the whole process starts over again. Even something as twisty as this would get boring–except that the plot remains suspenseful and you start to really like the little game that Mamet plays with you. Also, the film keeps you guessing about what each character actually knows, and where his or her alliances are. However, towards the end, the twists in the game get as harsh as Mamet’s wit.
The cast works together like a well-oiled machine. I was especially impressed with Hackman’s performance–the last film I saw him in was The Royal Tenenbaums, and the sheer difference in performance between that flick and this one just reminded me how incredibly talented and versatile he is. DeVito pulls off a wonderful straight villain, and Rebecca Pidgeon’s cool, aloof Fran makes you wonder what she’s really thinking throughout the film. I also really enjoyed Ricky Jay‘s performance as Don “Pinky” Pincus–it was a brilliant mix of a really nice guy who yet doesn’t screw around about his job.
The DVD itself didn’t have much going for it other than the film, but hey it’s Warners, so no surprises there. There was a “cast & crew” section with very edited filmographies, but it didn’t have information on everyone that it listed. Sam Rockwell’s been around–it’s not like he doesn’t have film credits worth mentioning. Not sure what’s up with that. The trailer on it was a good one, but that’s the only other thing on the disc.
So for my recommendation: I really enjoyed this film, but until there’s a DVD out with better features, this one is just a rental.