thatcow

Workman Crime Film

I must say I get tired of the crime genre. It feels so overdone, but there are some very good reasons that there always seems to be one of these in the theaters at any particular time: people relate deeply to being greedy, and there's inherent risks in being a criminal - it's almost too easy to build a story on that base.

The Italian Job is something of the James Bond equivalent of the crime film - our thieves are skilled and clever, and it's always interesting to see just what they're going to do next (much like the recent Ocean's Eleven, which may fit the concept even better). Several skilled and clever thieves pull off a visually spectacular job in Venice, but then one of them (Edward Norton) double-crosses the others, shoots the patriarch (Donald Sutherland), and leaves the others to a watery grave. The main thrust of the film is the revenge plotted by the surviving thieves who - being clever, you know - escaped otherwise certain death.

The film is well balanced, focusing on the revenge aspect, and not overindulging in such things as the token romance between the lead survivor (Mark Wahlberg) and the patriarch's daughter (Charlize Theron), a "good girl" whose participation is solely based upon revenge. The action is clever and engaging, the humor good but oversold in a couple places, and the characters interesting but kept well from over the top.

This is a remake of the well-respected 1969 film of the same name. I haven't seen it, but it appears to be about the same kind of remake that the aforementioned Ocean's Eleven was - somewhere between an actual remake and merely an "inspired by". This isn't a bad thing, as the revenge scenario plays out well. Yet, despite a lack of glaring flaws, there's still nothing that connects deeply. At the end of the day, it's still another crime flick - a very well executed one, but one that doesn't separate itself from the pack.

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