Friday, November 20, 2009

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

Day 324 - 11/20/09 - Movie #324

BEFORE: Another heist film, this is the 1999 remake, with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, of a film first made with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway... Last night we were in the Brooklyn Museum, now we're moving uptown to the Metropolitan...

THE PLOT: A very rich and successful playboy amuses himself by stealing artwork, but may have met his match in a seductive detective.

AFTER: Pierce Brosnan is pretty well-cast as Thomas Crown - like Redford, I think it's in Brosnan's contract that his character has to be both the cleverest and the prettiest person in the film. Rene Russo plays Catherine Banning, the sexy insurance agent who investigates the theft of a Monet from the Met. Much was written about Russo's age (45) when the film was made, but she still manages to rock a see-through dress at a gala ball and a number of nude scenes with Brosnan. Denis Leary (with a bad haircut) plays a police detective, and Faye Dunaway (who also appeared in the original version) has a cameo as Thomas Crown's shrink.

There are a couple of very clever sequences here, particularly in the way the art gets stolen from the museum. And there's another exciting action sequence at the end - the problem comes in needing to watch all the stuff in-between. I don't know how they made an illicit romance with a billionaire art thief boring, but they found a way.

We're led to believe that a corporate executive would eventually get bored with golf, traveling to the Caribbean, dating super-models and flying ultra-light glider planes, and the next logical step would be to plan elaborate art heists. I'm not sold on this idea - especially since Crown could probably afford to buy the paintings outright, and avoid all the fuss. I may not collect expensive art - I stick to comic books, novelty t-shirts and Star Wars autographs, and I don't see how being a collector leads to a life of crime, since there's always another little something to add to my collections the legal way.

Banning gets a little too close to Thomas Crown - to the point where I wasn't sure where her job as an investigator ended and her romance with a billionaire started. I guess maybe that's the point - she didn't know either.

I'm going to try something different, and watch the remake film and the original back-to-back, something I wasn't able to do with "The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3", "The Omen", "The Longest Yard" or even "3:10 to Yuma". So my rating for this film will be considered temporary, and revisable tomorrow when compared to the Steve McQueen version.

RATING: 5 out of 10 electric-eye beams

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