Monday, January 5, 2015

Signal Watch Watches: Thief (1981)

James Caan.  Michael Mann.  Tangerine Dream.  Crime-Noir.  Willie Nelson?

Heck, yes.

I think this is my first movie of 2015, so, we all have that going for me.

Like a lot of folks, I grew up with Michael Mann via Miami Vice, Crime Story, The Keep, Last of the Mohicans, Manhunter.  And, of course, we all like Heat.*  Somehow I'd never seen this particular movie, which I frankly don't understand, but there it is.

James Caan is a master safe cracker who may be a bit of a broken man.  But an opportunity comes up that could give him the life he's been seeking.  Of course, it's a Michael Mann movie, so the ending isn't going to be super-cheery, the pacing is going to be measured, we'll see neon lights bllurred in the background and reflected on the hoods of expensive cars, and the score is going to be rad.

As was mentioned by the host, one of the programmers at The Alamo Drafthouse, this movie (and others like it in the 1980's) provided the feel 2011's Drive captured so admirably.  As early as Thief appears and as strong a movie as it is, there's certainly an argument that the movie set a trend that Drive was carrying out 30 years later.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie a great deal.  I miss the steady, considered pacing of movies from this era and the slowly unwinding plots that let the actors flesh out their characters, something both Caan and Tuesday Weld are able to do admirably.  Willie Nelson, on the other hand, looks nervous in an early film appearance (but one after his starring role in Honeysuckle Rose, so go figure).

Anyway, good movie.  Next week, hoping to get out to see Manhunter.

Seen at:  The Alamo Ritz
Seen with:  SimonUK

*no, seriously, we ALL like Heat.


Paul Toohey said...

Just watched Thief and though"Ryan would dig this movie" so I checked in here to see if you'd seen it before I suggested that you do.

Man, I dug it a lot. Caan is pretty epic in it, and, I'm going to pretend that his character in Thief grows up into his character in Bottle Rocket. Music is great too.

Anonymous said...