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[Short Reviews]

HEIST

Hard on the heels of summerís formulaic The Score comes redundant evidence that the caper movie is the most limited of genres. This time Gene Hackman gets to play the aging supercriminal whoís lured into one last big job and then has to contend with unreliable partners. Once again, compound plot twists, exotic technology, and gaudy cross-cutting are the whole film, or almost.

Throughout his career Hackman has commanded a common-man ability to fit in anywhere: it serves him well here when his character, who pays taxes as a Quincy boatbuilder, adopts various disguises to rob a jewelry store and a cargo plane. And writer/director David Mametís linguistic resourcefulness allows everyone to pretend, for a while, that Heist is more than just a grim and mournful exercise. Gangster Danny DeVito calls someone a " vonce " and someone else a " doxy. " Hackmanís two-timing wife (Rebecca Pidgeon), itís said, " could talk her way out of a sunburn. " One character congratulates another on having " hot-walked that dude the live-long day. " Still, thereís no getting away from the sense that the caper genre is, as Mametís crooks would put it, " burnt. "

BY CHRIS FUJIWARA

Issue Date: November 8 - 15, 2001

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