13 September 1999 | SKG-2
Interesting twist on "heist" film
For reasons which, to me anyway, are completely unfair, every heist movie released since 1992's RESEVOIR DOGS has been compared to that film. I agree that film was great, and obviously there have been rip-offs, but not every heist film is, and PALOOKAVILLE, a wonderful surprise, is an example. In fact, if there's any film this should be compared to, it's the 1950's Italian movie BIG DEAL ON MADONNA STREET. Like that film, this is not about hardened criminals planning a heist, but about ordinary guys who try to be criminals while juggling their lives(one is married and has a kid, one takes care of his dogs, and even the third, who's more of the criminal mind than his friends, is dreaming of going with his girlfriend to California). It's also like BOTTLE ROCKET, which is also about inexperienced thieves, but where those guys, for the most part, want to be criminals, these guys just see it as an escape. But director Alan Taylor and writer David Epstein aren't making a tract, they're making a film about characters we can relate to, and while it lags at times, this is surprising, funny, and touching. Also, the performers are all good(this is an early look at the talents of Kim Dickens and Vincent Gallo). One of the more under-rated films of the year.