Set against the glitzy backdrop of the French Riviera, aging gambler Bob Montagnet is about to gamble it all on the casino heist of a lifetime; a spectacular sleight of hand--two heists, one real, one not, but which is which? Under the watchful eye of Roger, a policeman who would as soon save his longtime opponent as arrest him, Montagnet assembles a team that consists of partners Paulo and Raoul, technical mastermind Vladimer, former-drug-dealer-turned-informant Said, Anne, a young Eastern girl Montagnet rescued from prostitution, and the perfect complement to a double theft--identical twins Albert and Bertram.
Neil Jordan's film is nominally a remake of Jean-Pierre Melville's 1955 atmospheric poetic noir, "Bob le Flambeur." But Mr. Jordan has soaked his remake in color, and has added a few cylinders to the combustion. The movie feels more like a breezy, jazz-inflected version of the original: it's a triumph of flourish, with all weathered movie-star-size gestures. "The Good Thief" combines American flamboyance and French existentialist delirium. As played by Mr. Nolte, Bob is a brawny noir pin-up as trickster — an old dog who never lets on how many tricks he knows. Mr. Jordan gives the proceedings a double-heist plot turn. This ultimate caper film has a brazen ebullience, something unusual for Mr. Jordan. — Elvis Mitchell
2003-04-02 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of The Good Thief