Hackman's Heist is Screwed
It almost feels wrong to call a movie directed by David Mamet and starring Gene Hackman, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell and Danny DeVito tedious but that is the sad truth about "Heist". And there is a simple reason why this star studded movie ends up tedious, it tries to hard, it over complicates things, throws too many twists and double crosses at the audience to the point that you give up caring who is screwing you. It's a shame because in the midst of this over complicated heist movie are some ingenious double crosses but with so much else going on with some double crosses feeling like padding it doesn't work.
As the leader of a slick group of robbers Joe Moore (Gene Hackman - Enemy of the State) is not impressed when his fence Mickey Bergman (Danny DeVito - The Rainmaker) stiffs him and his team out of their share of the last job. So annoyed that he refuses to do the job to steal a Swiss gold shipment but is forced to back track and accept the job as well as Mickey's nephew Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell) as part of the team. But with everyone knowing that Joe crafts multi layered heists no one trusts anyone especially with a new guy on the team.
So lets get the big positive out of the way with and that is the star power in "Heist" is great. Gene Hackman and Delroy Lindo work so well together as the authority figures within the gang and Ricky Jay brings this element of deception nicely, never being totally sure what he is going to do. Danny DeVito is quite mean as Mickey, swearing forcefully in many of his scenes whilst Sam Rockwell as Jimmy brings a sort of novice conman element to things. Everyone works well to create characters which you are never entirely sure of.
But whilst "Heist" is not a bad movie the casting is for the most the only positive because unfortunately things become over complicated. Now I enjoy heist movies where you have double crosses, it adds an extra element so you have the fun of wondering how they will do the robbery and then also how they will switch the booty. But here there are numerous double crosses, in fact I think "Heist" has the most double crosses and twists of any movie I've watched and it becomes too much. By the time the movie finishes you have long given up on wondering who will walk away with the Swiss Gold because you don't know who you can trust. I am sure that is intentional as for example you try to work out whether Joe's wife Fran is screwing him or screwing someone else but it's too much.
And that is a shame because some of the double crosses are quite brilliant. The opening series of scenes as we watch Joe and his crew rob a jewellers is simple but nicely done and as for the Swiss Gold heist there is a touch of genius to it. Much of which is thanks to Mamet's pacing which keeps things moving so it doesn't allow you too much time to try and work things out. But again it is such a shame that the movie ends up over complicated by too many twists and double crosses, trying too hard to be clever.
What this all boils down to is that in "Heist" is a good movie, but unfortunately the storyline tries too hard to be clever with too many double crosses and so ends up tedious with just the occasional scene which makes you smile for its ingenuity.