The Art of The Steal – Film Review by Frances Winston
Directed by: Jonathan Sobol
Starring: Kurt Russell, Jay Baruchel, Katheryn Winnick, Chris Diamantopoulos, Kenneth Welsh, Jason Jones, Terence Stamp, Matt Dillon
In cinemas June 20th
If you’ve ever wondered what Elvis would have looked like had he lived you get an insight early on in this film when Kurt Russell’s crooked motorcycle stunt rider Crunch Calhoun appears in a white embellished suit to attempt one of his jumps. Since Russell famously played Elvis back in 1979 in a movie that ended with him wearing the King’s iconic white jumpsuit in a Vegas appearance this is almost like an extension of that scene and you can’t help but wonder if the costume department deliberately made this choice when kitting him out.
That aside this heist thriller has assembled an impressive all star cast. Bratpacker turned credible actor Matt Dillon play’s Crunch’s brother Nick. When a heist goes wrong he sells out Crunch who then spends seven years in prison (well five and a half with good behaviour) before hitting hard times. After his release he tries to put his art theft days behind him but when he is attacked by a guy that Nicky has double crossed he decides to get back in the game. Visiting one of his cohorts, veteran art fence “Uncle” Paddy (Welsh) he finds himself reunited with Nicky and the three of them along with a motley crew of accomplices plot to pull off an epic heist of an incredibly rare edition of a gospel. With grievances bubbling below the surface, will the brothers be able to work together to pull it off – especially when Interpol become interested in their comings and goings.
This is actually far cleverer than it sounds on paper despite certain clichés. All the cast play well off each other and seem to have had great fun making it. Russell is great as the world weary Crunch and still has an amazing on screen charisma while Dillon is suitably slick and conniving as the opportunistic Nicky. The flow is good throughout and this is the kind of flick that forces the audience to pay attention as they undertake their complex plot. The finale is incredibly complicated and you will kick yourself for missing some elements of the plot when it is all explained. There are twists and turns at every corner. If you like shows like Leverage and Hustle then this will definitely appeal. We’ve seen most of this before – after all a heist is a heist – but with a cast of this calibre bringing it to life who cares. A great ensemble movie that is smart and sassy enough to keep the audience guessing until the end.