A French gang of thieves flies over to Chicago for a one time job. However, things seem to get out of hand soon.A French gang of thieves flies over to Chicago for a one time job. However, things seem to get out of hand soon.A French gang of thieves flies over to Chicago for a one time job. However, things seem to get out of hand soon.
The best Dortmunder movie Westlake never wrote
I picked this up in Poundland expecting very little except that the word 'crime' in the title got my attention, and I'll watch any type of heist film. It was past one in the morning when I saw it, and I considered going to bed instead, then, after watching the first few scenes of the 95m movie (it said 84m on the box) I thought I'd watch half of it today and the other half tomorrow but it kept me watching till the end, occasionally laughing out loud. Comedy caper films nearly always fail. The Italian Job is over-rated. Don't even get me started on public-school- educated Guy Ritchie's films. But any fan of Donald Westlake's Dortmunder books, in which a hapless crime planner is saddled with a team of non-starters and has to extricate himself from increasing complications, will see that this is the best Dortmunder movie the late Westlake never wrote. The only successful Dortmunder adaptation was How to Steal a Diamond in Four Uneasy Lessons (also known as The Hot Rock). All the others failed to a lesser or greater extent. Despite the predominantly French tone, and the minimal characterisation of Depardieu's character (Dortmunder is usually silent, unless complaining, anyway) this is what a Dortmunder adaptation should be, even though it isn't. Not a great movie, by any means, with too many respectful nods to Tarantino (surely the greater influence here, and not Ritchie?) but a very watchable one that keeps you wanting to know what happens next. Wayne Newton's (yes, that's a man singing) 'Danke Schoen' is used to great effect.
- Jul 13, 2010
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