Heist (2001)

Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Rebecca Pidgeon, Delroy Lindo, Ricky Jay, Sam Rockwell

Dir. David Mamet

I couldn’t remember why Heist was on my Lovefilm list. I like a good heist drama, from the days of Flash Harry and Arthur Daley to Micky Brix in BBC1’s Hustle, wideboys and girls with their complex scams and dodgy antics have appealed to my deeply suppressed subconscious criminal aspirations to move a few knocked off tellies and flog a couple of bags of ash disguised as barbecue charcoal. Then, as the credits rolled and I saw the name David Mamet I remembered. Heist was directed by David Mamet, a scriptwriter who makes Quentin Tarantino look like a hapless teenager.

You might recall Mamet’s script for Glengarry Glen Ross and that golden line when Jack Lemmon asks Kevin Spacey why he did it [dropped him in the shit]? ‘Because I don’t like you,’ replies a straight faced Lacey. Perfect.

heistIn Heist, Mamet presents a straightforward tale of a serpentine robbery. The target is gold in the hold of a Swiss cargo plane and Gene Hackman’s crew is trying to double wrangle DeVito who is sponsoring the venture. DeVito wants Hackman to take his nephew along, but Hackman already has a plan in mind that Nephew can only screw up; that’s when he isn’t trying to make head nor tail of it.

Mamet’s script, as you would expect, is free of waffle, but at times it does start to sound like an Eddie Izzard parody of a heist movie. ‘You doin the job?’ Yeah, I’m doin the job,’ ‘so go do the f***ing job,’ ‘I told you I’m doin the job. I’m doin the job.’ I don’t know about you, but I tend to hear things the first time. However, it is fun trying to imagine how David Mamet would write a script for the Magic Roundabout. ‘Time for bed, children.’ ‘Time for bed?’ ‘Yeah, time for bed. You goin to bed?’ ‘Yeah, I’m goin to bed.’ ‘Well, go to bed. Go to the f***ing bed, for Christ’s sake.’


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