Friday, October 21, 2011

Thief (1981)

Synopsis: Ex-con safecracker steals diamonds and seriously annoys his wife, the mob and several crooked cops as Tangerine Dream score pulsates in the background.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Filmed on rain-slicked Chicago streets, Thief captures the chilling suspense of the safe-cracking world with incredibly detailed authenticity.”

What Did I Learn?: If you’re trying to adopt a kid, there are probably better strategies to employ with the case worker than getting angry, interrupting everything she says, and offering her a bribe in plain sight.  

Really?: 1) Frank (James Caan) takes a beating from several crooked cops because they want their cut from an upcoming job. Why wouldn’t he pay them? Doesn’t organized crime always pay off the cops?2) Chicago gangsters have nothing better to do than spending their days managing a plating company, and then eating milk and cookies in the boss’ house after dark.

Rating: Caan delivers a powerful and gritty performance in this stylish thriller. Thief is also a lot of fun for Michael Mann fans – characters, situations, sometimes even frame-by-frame shots (neon signs reflecting off the hood of a moving car, characters filmed descending down a long staircase, etc..) were later reused in Miami Vice, Manhunter, Heat, etc... 8.5/10 stars.


  1. I never realized there was a safecracking world.

  2. That's what the VHS jacket says - and you know they never lie!



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