The Heist

Let's disenfranchise the Swiss

"Come on! I DID twenty push-ups!" "No, it was nineteen. Gimme one more, or I'll break your legs."

David Mamet directs and writes this movie about a heist! (No duh, eh?) Well, this heist is led by supercriminal Gene Hackman who works for the demanding Danny DeVito. Hackman and his team decide to go for a mother load of gold aboard Swiss aircraft.

I don't normally go for David Mamet films. I will, however, admit that I have only seen two of the films he directed ("The Winslow Boy" and "The Spanish Prisoner") and, frankly, I disliked both of them! My major objection to those films were the wooden dialogue and acting. Unfortunately, that is also present in his latest film, "The Heist," except to a lesser degree.

The dialogue is either blessed or plagued (depending on your personal opinion) with a number of clever lines. These lines, when put in the hands of mediocre acting, seems to come off as wooden and unnatural. However, this time the acting seems to have improved, therefore the dialogue flows much more easily (even though it's still quite horrible).

Speaking of the plot, it's excellent. It is nothing we haven't seen before, it's just that Mamet has managed to place a successive string of plot twists after plot twists that it will keep the audience focused and interested. It's similar with what he did with "The Spanish Prisoner" except it is, thankfully, much less confusing.

Let's talk about the language content in this movie. It is much too harsh. Frankly, I do not see the need for such dirty language; perhaps had they eliminated all those F-words (there must have been thirty of them) "The Heist" may have been rated PG-13 opening the doors for a different audience. This film critic detests this outrageously brash language!

I have to give "The Heist" a thumbs up, despite the unsatisfactory (but improved) dialogue. I can't say no to such an involved, plot-twisting story!

Oh, and I also have a slight problem with this movie's timing. There is a scene that involves an airplane hijacking. Perhaps, even though it has been two months after September 11, this movie should have been released in Spring of 2002. I do not, however, hold that against this movie. I just thought I ought to mention it.


The dialogue may sound crappy (even though the lines themselves are quite clever) but the wholly unpredictable plot will keep the viewer interested without becoming confused. However, a bar of soap and a slap of the hand should go to David Mamet.

Movie reviewed by Michael Lawrence



Gene Hackman, Danny De Vito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay, Patti LuPone, Jim Frangione

Directed by:

David Mamet


2001 crime/drama

Rated R.


Don Ignacio's score: B

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