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Heist on DVD

It's so rare that we can have three great movies about one subject in the span of six months.

Heist, the David Mamet film, is about an aging thief who wants to make one last score. As always, Mamet fills the movie with his trademark witty dialogue.

It's this kind of dialogue that makes movies like this so great.

Hollywood has a tendency to release similar movies close together (Deep Impact & Armageddon; Mission to Mars, Red Planet & Ghosts of Mars, etc.). This time, it's nice to see them do it right. Heist is, in many, many ways, much like The Score and the Ocean's Eleven remake. All are about an aging thief brought back for one last score; all are about fancy gadgets and brilliant thieves; all have twists and turns at the end; and all are very, very good movies.

Hackman plays Joe Moore, the world's most talented thief. He has big plans for him and his wife, but doesn't quite have the money to make it happen. So Bergman (Danny Devito) convinces him to do the "last thing." Joe gathers up his clan (consisting of Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell and Rebecca Pidgeon), and they put "the plan" into effect.

It's always fun watching the characters in these movies. It's clear that they know exactly what they're doing, and the stuff they come up with is priceless. It's also interesting to see what kind of nifty toys they'll use.

Heist is the kind of movie where, just when you think it's over, it throws in another twist, then another, then another. It has a very clever screenplay and an equally talented cast (except for Pidgeon, who really doesn't have much talent) to back it up. David Mamet wrote and directed the film, and I'm now very interested in checking out some of his previous work.

Heist is clever, smart, funny, well-acted, and damn entertaining. How can you go wrong?

Perhaps since the movie didn't do overly well in theatres, Warner didn't give it a very good DVD. The picture quality, presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, is only good. It's not as clear as it could (or should) be, with just a little bit of fuzz, but it's okay. A movie as good as this deserves a top-notch transfer, and Warner needs to learn that just because it didn't break box-office records, it can still be worthy of a fine DVD.

The sound is equally average. Though it claims to have a 5.1 Dolby Digital transfer, I very rarely noticed anything coming out of the rear speakers. Most of the movie doesn't require it, but there are a few scenes in which some exceptional sound would be nice. Like the picture: good, but nothing more.

In the original press release, as well as elsewhere, it was advertised that the disc would feature an audio commentary by David Mamet. I must say I'm very disappointed that this wasn't included. His is a commentary I was looking forward to, and without it the disc has nothing but the trailer to complement it. How very disappointing.

Heist, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
109 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Gene Hackman, Danny Devito, Delroy Lindo and Sam Rockwell
Produced by Art Linson, Elie Samaha, Andrew Stevens
Written and directed by David Mamet


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Updated May 13, 2006