The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Michael Mann directs James Caan as a professional safecracker named Frank, who specializes in high-profile diamond heists. Frank plans to use his ill-gotten income to retire from crime and build a nice life for himself complete with a home, wife and kids. To accelerate this process, he signs on with a top gangster (Robert Prosky) for a big score. But when Frank tries to quit the job, the mob comes after him and his girlfriend (Tuesday Weld).
Film #8 of Gustav's Recommendations
”Be with me.”
This is it, a well-made, intelligent, twisty and exciting thriller that respects its viewers and never becomes dumb or boring. James Caan plays his role with a divine charisma, the brilliant score accompanies some of the most iconic scenes of the film and Michael Mann’s screenplay with its amazing dialogues and lively characters adds to the joy of the film. Thief is one of those films which will remind the viewer of the unrivaled noirs of 40s, with neon lights, dark nights and rainy streets it is representative of a world full of sin, blood and violence where lonely men like Frank are going up and down the streets in search of…
Scott Caan's dad in Michael Mann's debut film as the last guy in the world you want to fuck with. Getting your point across. A pot-head jailbird who can't wait to get on the road again. A soulful house-band. The Belushi no one gives a fuck about. A fat-fuck mob boss who talks way too much shit. Dirty cops. Courtroom shenanigans. Front-porch adoptions. Police brutality. A Melville-esque heist. A fun day at the beach. Not playing by the rules. Tuesday's gone with the wind. Blowing every last mutha fuckin thing up. Taking out the trash G.T.A style. Mann's debut fuckin owns.
Thief is a very well made thriller, very clever and gritty with a stellar performance by James Caan.
The film is centered on Frank an ex-con and a jewel thief but he is tired and he wants to get out of the criminal life to finally live a normal life, build up a family and be happy. But Frank decides to accept a job for a local gangster, it is going to be his last work but getting out of the crime life will be harder than he thought it would be.
Michael Mann's direction is very stylish with great camera work. I have to mention the safe cracking scenes that were shot in an amazing way. I never thought…
A fantastic, cool-as-ice James Caan; beautiful aesthetic appeal that merges dreamlike imagery and the grit of Chicago; a kick-ass and all-out 80s score from Tangerine Dream; all of Mann's typical trademarks in an engaging and interesting story — it all makes for one pretty great movie.
I have no idea why it took me so long to see this masterpiece. Thanks to Ruth Scouller (who loves it) that was corrected. What a brilliant neo noir. And talk about cool! This is one of the coolest looking film I have seen, especially the whole showdown. Adn wall knew James Caan could act but I never knew he could be such a convincing cool looking action hero... Let me correct that - film noir bad ass!
I love how the film deals with the desire to catch up with time. A thief has been in prison for 11 years and now he is going to get all he lost these 11 years, in just few years. Riches, wife,…
Michael Mann, USA, 8/10
So THIS is the film that people who think DRIVE is a great film were watching by mistake. THIEF starts out with a just-as-brilliant crime set piece as does DRIVE, which it clearly inspired, the camera gliding down from an enormous height in a wet grungy urban nightscape as if descending into a sewer, to Tangerine Dream (apparently a Mann signature) electronic huuummmmmm music. In both films you then get a lengthy crime scene, broken down into the procedures of professionals who know their jobs so well there's little talk, and all of it cool-headed shorthand. At the end of both, I let out one of those lengthy sighs of relief that indicate you hadn't even…
Considering this film's release on Criterion blu-ray, and the near-unanimous praise it receives from this users of this site, I wanted to revisit director Michael Mann's theatrical debut before trying to rank his films, to see if there was something I missed many years ago when I watched it for the first time. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like I did, as on rewatch the film remains a masterfully constructed ninety minutes, with an inexplicable final thirty that seems to betray everything that makes the film good.
With Thief Mann makes his first foray into a world of characters and themes he would revisit many times over throughout his career, delving into the ethos of a certain type of thief. James…
Though I've seen Thief before, it was only on old VHS tapes in the late 80s/early 90s. I remember it being too dark and a little hard to follow in places (I definitely didn't know what a "vig" was or half the other lingo when I was in middle school), but watching the new Criterion blu-ray shows just how beautiful and well-constructed it is. I'd also forgotten how great the Tangerine Dream score is.
Now that I'm older, have seen more movies, and time has passed, I also enjoyed seeing how Thief fits into crime film history. I liked tracing the paths from films it was influenced by (the heist itself clearly owes a lot to Rififi), and then to the modern movies it has influenced (i.e., Drive).
It's hard to watch this in the United States in 2014 without seeing it as a kind of conservative screed (Caan does all but scream "I BUILT THIS!" when being grilled by corrupt cops, who of course represent The Government). Luckily, the style elevates it, and that style (Tangerine Dream music, lots of neon) is indeed beautiful, but the plot is simply too cliched for me to overlook. The cliches in Heat worked for me, due to the film's almost totemic simplicity, but this is trying to be a character study, and only Caan's great acting keeps his character from being incomprehensible. Also, the action-film ending is a total miscalculation.
There’s nothing about this that doesn’t scream Michael Mann. I’m not even particularly well versed in his career, but it’s easy to see he’s behind this. It’s a spectacularly aesthetic neo-noir; darkness pervades over the freshly rain-soaked streets and cars, splashed with lights and neon. Mann has no issues capturing the film’s intended atmosphere. His framing is precise and he effectively lets things breathe behind the camera. Caan is a force. His mix of machismo and sensitivity is brilliant. He carried this film on his shoulders superbly. The diner scene with Tuesday being the film’s highlight, both in terms of Caan’s performance and the writing. In fact, there’s a surprisingly sensitive undercurrent to the film, which nicely settles in with…
Thief feels influenced by the likes of films such as The Driver and Melville's later heist films in some cases. These being two things I love, so naturally I loved Thief. It's got style and charisma. An awesome soundtrack from Tangerine Dream and wonderful camera work throughout. The nighttime photography clashing with neon and sparks is so great.
And top all this off is Mr. James Caan. A great actor in one of his best roles. Thief's plot isn't original (and thusly its only drawback in my opinion) but it does everything else so well, and so "cool". It's a very cool film, and very fun to watch.
Michael Mann's long been one of my favorite directors and I can now finally say I've seen all his movies. This is where he started and his later movies are definitely present here, as well as some serious influence on Refn's Drive. Cool movie, cool soundtrack, cool start to an awesome movie career.
Mann understands the expressive possibilities of city lights better than any filmmaker I know. In Thief, lights are abstracted and smeared, giving everyone a certain indescribable physical presence while at the same time mapping out the contours of the city that conveys a palpable sense of isolation, longing, and entrapment. Great performances, perfect music, and Mann's unparalleled attention to detail (especially in the amazing safe-cracking scenes) make for an early highlight in the career of one of the greatest directors.
When most think about American cinema during the 80's, they go back to the ostentatious, flamboyant outings. The majority of the quiet ones, like Thief, are pushed to the back, while the Robocops and Die Hards are front and center gaining and gathering attention from all sides and corners. American films dealing with crime and such were at their peak during the 70's and 80's and while Thief is a film that I wouldn't include personally when talking about this specific peak, it surely is solid and more influential that most give it credit for.
Mann's all-American aesthetics are incredibly pleasing to see here at play in Thief, as he takes on professionalism once again as he would do later…
One of the most aesthetic films I have ever seen. A true heist film.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
UPDATED: February 6, 2014
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…
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