Stars: Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, William H. Macy, Joseph McKenna, Wynn Everett, Marcia Gay Harden, Breckin Meyer | Written by Michael LeSieur | Directed by Peter Hewitt
Originally titled The Maiden Heist and debuted in the UK way back in 2009 at the Edinburgh Film Festival, The Heist comes from director Peter Hewitt who helmed one of my all-time favourite films, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, but who has been stuck in kids movie purgatory ever since, directing The Borrowers, Garfield, and Thunderpants amongst others.
The Heist sees Hewitt team with three of Hollywood’s best actors: Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, and William H. Macy in what can best be described as a modern-day Ealing comedy. The film tells the story of art gallery security guard Roger who spends his days transfixed by a painting called The Lonely Maiden. When he discovers that the gallery has sold the entire wing of art to a museum in Copenhagen he teams up with two other guards – the effete Charles and ex-military man George – both of whom has also developed a strong affinity for a particular piece in the gallery, to steal their favourite pieces and replace them with fakes. Not to make money by selling them, merely to keep the art in their lives…
Admittedly there’s not much of a plot to the film beyond the theft of the paintings but with a cast as experienced as the one here there’s no need for a convoluted story – it’s more a case of set up the story and watch the three leading men deliver. And deliver they do. A caper in the true sense of the word, The Heist is a small, gentle comedy made large by tour-de-force performances by its three leading men and the always excellent Marcia Gay Harden as Walken’s wife, Rose.
The type of film that the word “quirky” was made for, The Heist is pitch-perfect in tone: a light-hearted comedy that also has plenty to say about obsession, relationships and devotion to one’s work. The obvious fun that everyone had making the film translates to the screen tremendously, making this a joy to watch.
The Heist is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from Signature Entertainment.