The Italian Job ★★★

2017 movie viewings, #131. Watched during a recent binge on caper movies I went through one week last August, so I'm keeping my write-ups of all of them brief. This was easily the worst of the five films I watched that week; but for hardcore heist-film junkies who are looking for their daily fix, this will technically do in a pinch. A remake of the 1969 original in name only (it features different characters and a different plot than the original), it often feels like the whole thing started with an agreement to make a two-hour commercial for Mini Coopers, and only then with a script hastily written around that central moment ("hastily" being ironic here, in that the actual production burned through four writers and 18 drafts before finally arriving at this disappointing version). Too slick, too dumb, and too sentimental, about the only truly great thing here is Edward Norton as the slimy double-crossing villain; but it at least technically features clever crimes being pulled off cleverly, the minimal definition of "caper film," and as a result will likely satisfy genre fans with lowered expectations. A good first pick for a heist-film marathon, to establish a baseline for the better and better ones that come after.

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