Heists are much like movies, in that they only work if all the right elements are in place
are much like movies, in that they only work if all the right elements are in
place – both need a script, a set-up and the right players.
The Heist, a gentle geriatric caper, is lifted beyond the mundane by all
three, and benefits especially from the latter.
Roger (Christopher Walken), Charles (Morgan
Freeman) and George (William H. Macy) all work as security guards at
a Boston museum, and each has an obsession with a work of art there. Roger with
a painting of a woman staring into the mid-distance; Charles with a picture of
a woman with cats; and George with a bronze Adonis in front of which he has
difficulty keeping clothed.
Upon learning that all three works, along with
everything else in the gallery, are to be shipped to Denmark to make way for
something fresh, new and possibly challenging, the three are left with one of
two options – either they move to Denmark (which they all agree is a long way
to go, and that the language is difficult) or, naturally, they steal the works.
With George taking the planning lead, thanks to his
credentials invading Grenada as a Marine in the 1980s, an audacious heist is
planned — three forgeries are to be created and swapped during the move — and
somewhat dodderingly executed.
A proper caper – think Oceans Eleven: The
Twilight Years – The Heist strikes lucky with a cast of Old Masters.
Walken proves once again that he is the unsurpassed
master of arch comedy, Freeman brings a hitherto-unexposed light camp to the
character of Charles, and Macy creates the best delusional ex-serviceman since John
Goodman in The Big Lebowski.
Lurking in the background of all their lives is
Roger’s wife Rose (an excellent, shrill Marcia Gay Harden), a woman with
her hair permanently in rollers and an eye permanently on an escape to Florida.
Director Peter Hewitt is known, if that is the
right word, for keeping a steady hand on steady comedies like this – he has The
Borrowers, Thunderpants and the most recent Home Alone
offering to his name since his first success with Bill & Ted’s Bogus
With a cast like this though, the cameras just have to
roll. The three leads bounce effortlessly off one another and although it lacks
a little in tension (and continuity – it’s a short 90 minutes) The Heist is
affable beyond its modest means.