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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

THIEF (1981)

Once you exclude THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS/'92, you can count on a Michael Mann pic to promise more than it delivers. Then again, in his unsuccessful, but influential debut, he doesn’t even promise much. James Caan in his lost-in-the-wilderness years between FUNNY LADY/’75 and MISERY/’‘90 is the ultra-independent safecracker who hooks up with a big-time burglary outfit hoping for a fast payoff so he can jump start a family life. As the wife, Tuesday Weld is lovely & wasted, as usual. Mann is already relying on his patented combination of overwritten philosophical coffee klatche/existential dialogue while he aims for class & style only to settle for fashion & fashionability. And the mind-numbing score from Tangerine Dream hardly helps. You don’t need to be an afficionado of classics in a similar mode from Jules Dassin or Jean-Pierre Melville to find something missing here.

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