The Good Thief movie poster
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The Good Thief movie poster

The Good Thief Movie Review

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Nick Nolte turns in a sensational performance in The Good Thief, just one of many good things about this raw and edgy heist film. Though featuring modern characters and themes, it is much like the heist films of old, with more focus on character than intricate plots.

Nolte stars as Bob, an aging thief in France who finds more success getting high and drunk than doing anything productive. When he is presented with an offer to rob a casino and the many priceless paintings contained within, however, he finds it is something he can't refuse, and collects a group of trusted friends to help him. Of course, nothing ever goes as plan, and the police are soon alerted to the plot, though they have no hard evidence against him. That won't stop Bob, however.

The Good Thief is a visually enticing film that leans more towards drama and suspense, and thus sets the stage for Nolte's great performance. He is truly captivating here, stealing every scene that he is in. He really does enbody the contradiction of the title; he is about as good of man as anyone, except that he steals and does drugs.

Though character is the emphasis of the film, it does have some good plot developments, especially near the end when the heist is going down. The actual motivations of Bob are actually a little confusing at times, but nonetheless the climax is pretty clever and slick. The addition of Bob's semi-friendship with the local detective (Tcheky Karyo) is also pretty fun to watch.

All in all, The Good Thief is a very entertaining film, with interesting characters, a clever though not necessarily complicated plot, and neat visuals. The only thing that hurts it are a few technical approaches the director, Neil Jordan (who also wrote the movie), uses, such as the freeze frame transitions at the end of every scene. Who knows who told him that this was a good idea, because it really isn't; at the end of every scene, it seems as though the DVD is skipping a beat. It just looks awkward and adds absolutely nothing to the movie.

Aside from a few minor glitches, though, The Good Thief is one of the shining moments of 2003, and should not be overlooked despite its limited release in theaters. Nolte's performance is grounds enough to see it, but it is also a stylish and entertaining heist film from beginning to end.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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