Bryan C Winn
Bryan C Winn
The life of a criminal is a dangerous one. Sure - it's often romanticized in print and film, unless of course, it deals with serial killers or something of that nature. That however, is another story. The heist film gone wrong is generally considered good clean fun. Not many people would ever try to emulate their crooked, robbing heroes - but to watch them onscreen? What's wrong with that? "THIEVES" is one such heist film with a heaping side order of murder and revenge. Keeping things spoiler free, well... it's about a heist gone wrong. That's not exactly true because the heist is actually pulled off - it's the aftermath that "THIEVES" focuses on. It's what happens when you rob the wrong person and a loved one pays the ultimate price. Among other people. Welcome to Bryan C Winn's noir heist film - if this is your thing, you've come to the right place.
"THIEVES" doesn't offer up anything terribly new. I know... I'm keeping things spoiler free, but you pretty much already know what to expect with this title. There are some less often used plot threads, such as two certain FBI agents - but even with them, it's nothing you haven't seen before. But who says originality always has to be king? Sometimes... it's the familiar setting that can make a film good. Like comfort food on a depressing day. The stories we find familiar, with a swath of the directors (and cast) inner story teller and style, are always fun to watch. "THIEVES" seems to thrive in this climate - and yes - I personally did like this film. I also don't think I'll be alone.
Now we get into the technical aspects - so if you're not interested, skip to the end. "THIEVES" is a black and white film. Although there's nothing wrong with that, and perhaps it does add to the mood, I can't help but wonder if I wouldn't have enjoyed a color version more? This film isn't done badly - and using the black and white to hide a poor production - not that I can tell anyhow. Yet I still feel seeing "THIEVES" in color would have been great.
I also feel this film is slightly long. Not so much because of the run-time, that isn't that long at all. Rather because there's a lot of unneeded footage remaining in the film. An example? In the first act, two FBI agents are walking down a hallway. One of the agents assures the other that she wouldn't let him down... something like that. Normally, since that was the last line of dialog, a direct cut to the next scene would have flowed perfectly. Here however, the camera cuts back to a wide shot of the two continuing their walk off-screen. No more conversation, and around six to ten extra seconds of nothing. This may not be technically a wrong thing to do, but since there was no point to the rest of the walk... why put it in there at all? It only slowed the pace and didn't do anything for the story.
"THIEVES" contains lots of situations similar to the one above. Probably adding another five to seven of unneeded length. I know it sounds like I'm nit-picking, but it is something I noticed. If I noticed it, so will someone else. Aside from that? There are some unusual scene transitions throughout the film and edits that for whatever reason, felt off and wrong. Never quite enough to make you groan - but enough to be noticed, and slightly pull you out of Winn's created world. I also noticed a lot of one/two acting. What's that you ask? A lot of the dialog consists of a person delivering their line, and then the next doing the same. Like they're waiting for person one to finish. Conversations are definitely not like that. They are messy and overlapping. However, for the most part, the acting in this film was pretty good - only a few awkward sounding lines scattered throughout. For a low budget indie flick... this is quite an amazing accomplishment. Hats off to the cast and Bryan C Winn himself as a director.
When it's all said and done? I enjoyed my time with this movie. Being a fan of the genre helped - but I sincerely believe that anyone can turn this flick on and enjoy the ride. There's no big moral message here. There's no world ending plot line - just a quick diversion via a pretty good movie. What more is there? A solid three stars.