The HeistDirector: Peter Hewitt (credited as Pete Hewitt)
Screenplay: Michael LeSieur
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, William H. Macy, Marcia Gay Harden
Producers: Morgan Freeman, Michael LeSieur, Peter Hewitt
Country: USA
Running Time: 90 min
Year: 2009
BBFC Rating: 12

Debuting at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2009 as “The Maiden Heist”, The Heist missed out on a theatrical release thanks to the bankruptcy of the distributor. Released on DVD the same year in the US, it is only released in the UK on 1st April 2013.

Art gallery security guard Roger (Walken) has become infatuated with a particular painting, “Lonely Maiden” spending much of his time at work admiring this particular piece. Roger is beside himself when he discovers the painting is to be part of a shipment to be moved to Copenhagen. Roger considers following the painting to Copenhagen but knows that it will shatter wife Rose’s (Harden) dreams of retiring to Florida.

Instead, Roger finds like-minded souls in colleagues Charles (Freeman) and George (Macy), also infatuated with pieces of art destined for Denmark. The threesome turn from protectors to would be thieves, using their collective skills and connections to pull off a heist so they may enjoy the objects of their affection in perpetuity.

The Heist, it could be said, is as much about friendship and self-discovery as it is about a theft. Over the course of their preparation, the three colleagues, previously unacquainted, become friends, revealing and discovering each other’s hopes and dreams, and the reasons for their infatuations. Roger also falls in love with Rose all over again, after years of unrequited love with an inanimate painting.

the-maiden-heist

Do not judge this DVD/Blu-Ray by its cover. If you want an all-out action movie, this is not one. Yes, the opening scene is action packed, but this day dream sequence gives way to a much gentler pace. The Heist is more an adventurous, heart-warming, comedy caper that is reminiscent of 1970s Disney, though this is not a film aimed at children, especially not with this cast.

Of course, the cast list is something else. Walken is always a pleasure to watch and Freeman will always add gravitas to any cast list. Macy may not have the star power of Freeman or cult status of Walken, but he is no less an actor. The three do a fantastic job of bringing the protagonists to life, giving them character that you will easily like and empathise with.

The story here is very straight forward. Sure, that makes it easy to follow, but it lacks any big surprises or plot twists that are familiar with this genre. Of course you don’t expect the sophistication seen in the likes of TV shows Leverage or Hustle from these amateur thieves, yet things tend to fall in place a little too easily for them. There are moments built in to create suspense, but don’t expect too much excitement, this is an altogether more sedate ride.

The Heist is charming and fun with a to-die-for cast that will keep you entertained for 90 minutes. If not a lad’s night in movie, it certainly fits the bill as a date movie, especially for the more mature film fans out there!

Review by Kieran McGreevy

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