Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Thomas Crown Affair

Movie Name: The Thomas Crown Affair
Year of Release: 1999
Director: John McTiernan
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Ben Gazzara, Frankie Faison, Fritz Weaver, Charles Keating, Mark Margolis, Faye Dunaway, Michael Lombard, Bill Ambrozy, Robert Novak
Genre: Crime, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis & Review:
John McTiernan's eventful career suffered quite a few setbacks in the 90s with the poor critical and audience reception of "Last Action Hero" in 1993, and again with a series of problems that "The 13th Warrior" also suffered (a film where after initial test screenings, was taken over by Michael Crichton, the author of the novel upon which the film was based, and himself a film maker). The film is a remake of the feature directed by Norman Jewison in 1968, which featured Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in the lead roles, and follows pretty much the same storyline. The film follows the story of millionaire Thomas Crown, who occasionally robs valuable artwork, as part of self imposed challenges to see if he can get away with it. Into the fray walks insurance investigator Catherine Banning, who wants to understand what's the angle behind Crown's motivations. What starts as an investigation, soon becomes a seduction game between these two highly skilled individuals.
This remake of the Norman Jewison film turned out to be one of the finest features directed (thus far) by John McTiernan. The film which starts as a crime caper, quickly evolves into a dance of seduction between these two seasoned people who both want to excel at the game of foreplay. It's a ingenious plotline that lives primarily from the chemistry that exists beyond the two leads (and not much else). The film is deftly shot, featuring beautiful locations, and two gorgeous leading actors, and aside from their game of seduction, everything else pails in comparison, even the part of the plot that has Denis Leary as a police officer trying to catch Thomas Crown. It's very much like an inferior but still sexy update of Alfred Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief", with Rene Russo clearly having fun with a character that is smart and resourceful, whereas Pierce Brosnan purely repeats his traditional James Bond style. A fun and unpretentious film from an underrated director.