Running: The Duke and Other Great Heist Movies | crime movies

WWhen it comes to the heist movie genre, “Based on a True Story” isn’t an obvious selling point: Complicated crimes tend to do better the more elaborately and creatively they are set up. the duke (Amazon) is an exception. The last feature, directed by the late Roger Michel, contains a ridiculously vulnerable story that could have been snatched straight from Richard Curtis’ brain, but just so happens to be rooted in reality. Even the name of the real protagonist sounds fictitious: Kempton Bunton, a working-class pensioner, in protest of the British government’s television license fees, sets out to steal a Goya painting A picture of the Duke of Wellington From the National Gallery.

Logic, like many of the plot mechanics here, is better looked at than explained. But he makes for a cheery, hilarious romp, cheerfully performed by Jim Broadbent as Bunton and Helen Mirren as his weary wife, and directed by Michelle with modest ease. All in all, it falls on the lightest and brightest end of the heist movie spectrum: there are no hateful criminals or horrific outcomes here, just landlords doing ill-advised acts with good intentions.

Alec Guinness, Audrey Hepburn and William Fox in The Lavender Hill Mob (1951).
Alec Guinness, Audrey Hepburn and William Fox in The Lavender Hill Mob (1951). Photo: Cinetext / Rank / Allstar

Sixty or 70 years ago – in fact, around that time the duke Set – Michelle’s film may have been a delightfully elusive comedy, though, admittedly, it may not last as consistently as The Lavender Hill Mob (Britt Box). Seven decades ago, and perhaps still the most graceful and glamorous of banking career films, Charles Crichton’s innovative comedy blends complex narrative architecture and endearing sympathy for young Englishmen against the vast capitalist system, while Alec Guinness’s ironic, dry performance prevents things from getting too bland. By 2008, this archetype had transformed into the scruffy tough guy embodied by Jason Statham, although bank work (Amazon), written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frene, retrieves a lot of photos The Lavender Hill MobSteps with clenched jawline magic.

Stirling Hayden, right, in Kubrick's The Killing.
Stirling Hayden, right, in Kubrick’s The Killing. Photo: Everett Collection Courtesy of

In the United States, heist movie tends to be a smoother, more elegant process—even when criminals are deceiving, as in Steven Soderbergh’s glamorous comedy. eleventh ocean (2001; Netflix), a rare new release that dramatically improves on the original Rat Pack-era release. In the stiffer type you get 1956 Stanley Kubrick the kill (Apple TV+), about the leanest, most sinister, and most exciting movie ever made, made from the veteran premise trying one last try. At its most complex, there’s the wonderful Wes Anderson movie bottle rocket (Microsoft), well made before he perfected his cuckoo clock aesthetic, drawing on the energy of a zombie in the mid-’90s as well as the then pervasive influence of Tarantino’s gentle bloodbath. tank dogs (1991; BFI Player).

Anderson and Tarantino were, of course, indebted to the French New Wave, a wonderful remake of the heist, as evidenced by Jean-Luc Godard’s gracefully disassembled anatomy of the heist. Bande à part (1964; Chili). And this, in turn, is indebted to the lukewarm Jules Dassin, with his elegant sketch rural (1955; Apple TV+), with its complex hub and gem theft, followed by a delightful accumulation of malicious human consequences and betrayals.

Jada Pinkett Smith, Kimberly Elise, Queen Latifah and Vivica A. Fox in Set It Off.
Jada Pinkett Smith, Kimberly Elise, Queen Latifah and Vivica A Fox in F Gary Gray’s ‘bracing’ Set It Off (1996). Photo: New Line Cinema / Allstar

Finally, if men tend to be the lead protagonists and (often simultaneously) villains of the heist movie, the genre’s newest notables have shown that women can counter them with some tricks. Sebastian Schipper Victoria (2015; Curzon)—pushing naïve Berlin waitress Laia Costa into a real-time banking job done in one dazzling take—bringing a female perspective to a chaotic male underworld. F Gary Grays blow it up Amazon was notable for its portrayal of black women in the criminal realm, as the quartet of bank robbers boasted more societal motives than most. Twenty-six years after its release, it’s as racy and forward-thinking as ever, rivaled only by the politically complex intricacies and powerful thrillers of powerful Steve McQueen, led by Viola Davis. widows (2018; Amazon). Movies like this make Kimton Bunton’s humble, albeit similarly socially minded, burglary seem a bit strange by comparison.

Also new on streaming and DVD

choose or die
(Netflix)
After several blockbuster short films, the British team of director Toby McInnes and writer Simon Allen has graduated to present this technical horror story of a young programmer that reboots a video game from the ’80s with damning obvious consequences. Drenched in moody dim light and early millennium nostalgia, looks like a little stray black mirror in installments, but it’s a creepy, well-made calling card.

All the old knives
(head of amazon)
Chris Pine and Thandwe Newton, former lovers and fellow CIA operatives, reopen old wounds – both personal and professional – over the course of a tense reunion dinner filled with flashbacks with urgent stakes. Adapted from American spy fiction writer Olin Steinhauer from his own account, this reinvents no wheels, but it’s a bright and intriguing part of le Carré lite, bolstered by the impressive performance of its well-matched threads.

You are not my mother
(Amazon, $13)
Irish writer and director Kate Dolan has debuted an impressive and emotionally charged horror film that stops the turbulent mother-daughter relationships, and centers around a withdrawn teen (the gorgeous Hazel Dobb) who navigates her mother’s wild, possibly supernatural transformations. It’s effective either as a metaphorical local drama or a straight cooler.

The Essential Tavernier Boxset
(StudioCanal)
A year after his death, lavish genre-changing French author Bertrand Tavernier received a fitting tribute with this collection of eight films on Blu-ray and DVD. It misses some of its great works, but it still extends to the wonderful historical drama (Let joy reign supremeAnd Princess of Montpensier), political documentaryLa guerre sans nom) and best of all, scathing noir to adapt it to Jim Thompson Coup de TorchonWith Isabelle Hubert and Philip Nauert.

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