SYNOPSIS: Crunch Calhoun (Russell), a third rate motorcycle daredevil and semi-reformed art thief, agrees to get back into the con game and pull off just one more lucrative art theft with his untrustworthy brother Nicky (Dillon). Crunch reassembles the old team and comes up with a plan to steal a priceless historical book, but the successful heist leads to another, far riskier, plan devised by Nicky. What the brothers don't realize is they each have their own agenda and their plan goes awry in this con movie about brotherhood, honor and revenge.
If there’s one reason to watch The Art of the Steal, it’s Kurt Russell.
The star of Escape from New York and Stargate heads this crime caper as Crunch Calhoun, a former wheeler for art heists who is now working as a down-and-out motorcycle stunt performer. Seven years ago, Crunch was made the scapegoat by his half-brother, Nicky (Matt Dillon) when a heist went wrong and he was subsequently sent to a Polish jail. Now an old partner, Uncle Paddy (Kenneth Welsh) decides to round up the usual gang for an easy job- to steal a historical religious book from the border police. Will their plan succeed when everyone seems to have an agenda of their own especially Nicky?
While Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean trilogy and Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist is all flashy and star-studded, writer and director Jonathan Sobol has cleverly made good use of the limited funds to conjure a fun crime flick that often begs the question “Is he the good guy or is he not?”. His scripting might get a bit too ambitious towards the end with the seemingly endless double crossing and flashback but that’s the whole fun of watching a gang of old-time crooks doing what they does best.
The Art of the Steal often tickles with perfect comic timing from Jay Baruchel (How to Train Your Dragon) who plays Crunch’s loyal mechanic Francie. It's always amusing to see Baruchel play a fumbling character and he doesn’t disappoint. The best lines however ought to go to Terence Stamp (playing an informant here) for his non-stop hilarious sarcasm on his Interpol agent, Bick (Jason Jones). The other colourful character has to be Guy de Cornet, a French forger who is played to perfection by Chris Diamantopoulos.
In the end, Kurt ‘Snake Plissken’ Russell has what it takes to play a cool character still despite his frequent absence from the big screen. Crunch Calhoun might be old and maybe slow but Russell’s presence alone just makes the character more believable and vulnerable.
The entire caper flick might be devoid of any exhilarating action sequences nor any elaborate schemes but The Art of the Steal moves along at a brisk pace (with a couple of unexpected twists and turns) and in general pretty entertaining for the most part. Can’t wait to catch Russell appearing in Fast & Furious 7 next.
Commentary with Director Jonathan Sobol & Producer Nicholas Tabarrok is a lively, engaging track in which the two filmmakers reveal a couple of interesting anecdotes behind the making. If you love the movie, you shouldn’t miss this.
Cast and crew talks about the collaboration process and the script in Doing the Crime: Making The Art of the Steal.
Getting Away With It: Inside The Art of the Steal has the actors talk about their onscreen characters.
The Making of "The Theft of the Mona Lisa" is a brief segment on how the CG is accomplished in the flashback sequence.
The DVD looks fine not exceptional and the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack offers a clean, concise listening experience.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee