Film Capsule: The Art of The Steal

Last night I watched The Spanish Prisoner, and was reminded of this truth regarding David Mamet’s heist films: There are always gaping plot holes, and those holes don’t seem to matter. This is the result of first-class writing, taut suspense, and a storyline much broader than the flaws inside its wake.

Art of The Steal is not a David Mamet movie. But it is a mainstream heist film … one so caught up in its own conceit it squanders all its currency on improv. At its center is a takedown crew, completely capable of world-class scores. Only Jonathan Sobol turns his lead cast into morons, bumbling through a bloated script that’s overrun with trite cliches. Set along the all-time heist movies – The Killing, Dog Day Afternoon, Thief, Quick Change, Reservoir Dogs, The Usual Suspects, Heat, The Score, Inside Man, The Prestige and Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead – Art of The Steal is nothing more than methane gas and white noise. It approaches every plot twist like a pratfall, posing set-ups with the bombast of a slick peel on the ground.

Editor’s Note: Kurt Russell plays a character named Crunch in this movie, adding to a resume that boasts the likes of Stuntman Mike, Bull, Snake, Cash and … Snake.

(Art of The Steal opens in limited release this Friday.)