According to Rotten Tomatoes, critical reaction for Heist was mixed to positive, with an overall 65% approval rating. The critical consensus summary was that "Heist didn't cover any new ground, but the cast and Mamet's expertise with witty banter make it worthwhile." On Metacritic, the film received a metascore of 66/100 based on 33 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert said "Heist is the kind of caper movie that was made before special effects replaced wit, construction and intelligence. This movie is made out of fresh ingredients, not cake mix. Despite the twists of its plot, it is about its characters." He went on to praise Mamet's trademark verbal constructions, his restrained approach to on-screen gunplay, and the care that he takes in shaping the relationships between the principals.
In its opening weekend, the film opened at #5, it grossed $7,823,521 in 1,891 theaters in the United States and Canada. In total it had a worldwide gross of $28,510,652, significantly lower than the film's production budget of $39 million.
The film generated more than $72 million in home video rentals in the United States (significantly higher than the film's box office gross).
man I think that this is such a slick enjoyable movie 2 watch, its got such a brilliant cast throughout this movie.....its got such a fantastic story line throughout this movie, I think that this is such a brilliant enjoyable movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie.......
I bought it for Hackman but really it's a serious B movie.
Joe, his younger spouse Fran "Rebecca Pidgeon", and his crew Bobby "Delroy Lindo" and Pinky "Ricky Jay" rob a jewelry store, complications ensue and Joe's identity is "blown". Joe now needs to fence the Jewels and head south. "Danny Devito" plays the fence who needs them to pull one last job. So begins the game. Twists, cons, and mysteries wrapped in riddles. Mamet tries to trick the audience resulting in many plot holes and predictable twists. The dialogue is sharp and the performances are solid. The climax is a stereotypical dockside shoot out.
Mamet is an award winning playwright and I think the FORM of theater is his strength. The mise-en-scene seems plain, almost boring in its set design; the colors and some lighting are dark, which is intended but it creates a "dull" feeling throughout.
The interiors have a lived-in feel without conveying that film noire vibe. Remember it was Mamet that invited such comparisons. The edit could have been tighter. The pacing is slow and drags into the final few twists. The pattern of Joe's plans imploding sets up the ending between Fran and Joe. Will Joe finally win?
It's not CONTENT that is the problem; the heists are interesting and the characters are developed well enough for the genre. "Heist" features several cons that are obvious in execution. Heist films and film noire are classic content. When done right they can be a lot of fun. "Heist" is far from a bad film. I just expected better from the talent involved.
All of this is a bit of a shame really, since this thriller stars the likes of Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito and Sam Rockwell and is directed by the usually solid David Mamet.
But the plot, which has a few twists and turns, just struggles to be very memorable at all.
[originally posted 26Nov2001]
Beware: if you go to see a David Mamet film expecting a linear time, you're going to have problems.
The mind that brought us the best con movie ever, House of Games, returns to the life of the small-time crook who wants to be big-time with just as much gusto as panache as before. Mantegna has been replaced with flavor du jour Gene Hackman, and former Mamet wife Lindsay Crouse has been replaced with present Mamet wife Rebecca Pidgeon, but otherwise, your small time con artists (Hackman, Pidgeon, Delroy Lindo, and Mamet regular Ricky Jay) are shooting for a brass ring well outside their sphere of influence. Nothing unusual. Mamet throws the monkeywrenches into the works in this one with a small-time mob boss (Danny DeVito) and his layabout nephew (Sam Rockwell, late of The Green Mile and Galaxy Quest); mob boss says that nephew must come along on the job, and crime ring leader agrees.
As usual with Mamet, there are many more layers than are let on at any given time. Crosses, double-crosses, and triple-crosses abound. Every character has an angle, and no one is to be trusted. Because of that, it's a movie that requires excessive attention to detail on the part of the viewer; this is likely to make the majority of the public ignore the film, but, like House of Games, it will develop a following among those who are willing to go back and watch movies four or five times to analyze everything that needs analyzed.
Wonderful. Easily one of the ten best of the year. ****
The great(ish) cast aside, this is average with a capital A. Nothing is bad, the tension is there, there's some OK action, the direction/script is fine, but nothing is that memorable or fantastic. Worth a look for some mild entertainment and not much more.